While international travel may not be everyone's cup of tea with the long lines at customs, language barriers and expensive currency conversions, a little international thinking can do a portfolio good. And given the global nature of today's economy, American investors certainly don't face a shortage of investment choices in foreign companies.

Investopedia Broker Guides: Enhance your trading with the tools from today's top online brokers.

There are thousands of American Depositary Receipt (ADR) available to U.S. investors that aim to give them exposure to more than 2,000 companies from over 70 countries listed on global stock exchanges. In addition, many companies domiciled outside of the U.S. list their shares on U.S. exchanges, not as ADRs.

Some hail from as close as Canada or Mexico, while others are based in more exotic locales such as Brazil or China. Regardless of the home country, American investors can gain some nice returns with a few international stocks.

SEE: 20 Investments To Know

Let's Look At Five International All-Stars:

Company Home Country 6-Month Performance
Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS) Canada 2.96%
Cosan (NYSE:CZZ) Brazil 1.10%
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (NYSE:SQM) Chile -9.30%
China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) China 2.90%
Potash Corp. (NYSE:POT) Canada -9.15%
June 1st, 2012

Chemical & Mining Co. Of Chile A Risky Play
This company makes some of the same potassium-based agricultural products as Potash, although it is dwarfed in size by its Canadian counterpart. Latin American stocks are notoriously tricky places to park one's money, and waiting on a recovery in Chile's economy could be a risky proposition.

SEE: The Fuel That Fed The Subprime Meltdown

What About China?
Turning to China and its gargantuan customer base, China Mobile is the country's dominant provider of mobile phone service. Its shares are flat over the past year, although it appears some American investors are taking note of the company's value.

China Mobile's share decline is a familiar theme with many once high-flying Chinese ADRs, although this $200 billion company has real staying power, fortified by the world's largest population. China has an export-driven economy, and its economic fortunes are intimately tied to large purchasers of its goods such as the U.S. Investors need to be cautious with Chinese stocks, but China Mobile does offer a fair 4% dividend yield and is an interesting long-term growth story.

Banking North Of The Border
Running into the waiting arms of Uncle Sam for taxpayer money to stay alive after leveraging themselves to the hilt and gorging themselves silly on toxic loans and dirty commercial paper, American banks have punished shareholders along the way.

SEE: Who Is To Blame For The Subprime Crisis?

Well, it appears that Canadian banks got it right, and Bank of Nova Scotia is a prime example. This bank has a sterling Tier 1 capital ratio and solid exposure to markets beyond Canada. Throw in a 4.3% dividend yield, and we might just have a bank worth investing in.

It's A Big World With Lots Of Opportunities
Opportunities abound in international markets, and the names mentioned here offer some balance across several important sectors. Stick with proven histories and potential such as Bank of Nova Scotia, China Mobile and Potash.

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Will WYNN Continue to Rally?

    Wynn Resorts has experienced a rally recently. Will it remain a good bet?
  2. Stock Analysis

    Will Twitter's Stock Find its Wings Soon?

    Twitter is an enigma to many investors, but its story is pretty straightforward.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Don't Be Fooled by the Market's Recent Rally

    The bulls won for a bit in early October, but will bears have the last laugh?
  4. Stock Analysis

    Top 5 Companies Owned by Ford

    Discover some of Ford Motor Company's most important subsidiaries and joint ventures, and learn more about what they do to further Ford's business interests.
  5. Investing Basics

    Diversify with These Four Alternative Assets

    In times of market volatility, investors add alternative assets to their portfolios--highly illiquid, but profitable investments like art, land or precious metals.
  6. Investing

    How To Build a Currency Hedged Strategy?

    We are still unsure of how to implement a currency hedge strategy based on the dollar's movement. So let’s focus on what’s easier to measure: time horizon.
  7. Investing

    Which Economy Is Larger - The United States or China?

    China's economy may be larger than the U.S. economy, but it all depends on which exchange rate method you use to make the GDP comparisons.
  8. Stock Analysis

    8 Solid Utility Stocks for a Bear Market

    If you're seeking modest appreciation, generous dividend payments and resiliency, consider these eight utility stocks.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Why Phillips 66 (PSX) is a Solid Long-Term Bet

    Here's why Phillips 66 will likely remain one of the world’s largest and most profitable companies for a long time to come.
  10. Investing

    What a U.S. - Asia Trade Deal Means For Business

    The U.S. and 11 other countries, comprising 40% of the world’s total economic output, have finally reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  1. How do dividends affect retained earnings?

    When a company issues a cash dividend to its shareholders, the retained earnings listed on the balance sheet are reduced ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Where do penny stocks trade?

    Generally, penny stocks are traded through the use of the Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) and through pink sheets. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where can I buy penny stocks?

    Some penny stocks, those using the definition of trading for less than $5 per share, are traded on regular exchanges such ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How are American Depository Receipts (ADRs) priced?

    The price of an American depositary receipt (ADR) is determined by the bank or other financial institution that issues it. ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!