Many investors are struggling to find reasonably valued U.S. stocks amid record-high equity prices. But Sarah Ketterer, founder and CEO of investment manager Causeway Capital Management, sees plenty of buying opportunities. She specializes in spotting cheap, financially sound, contrarian plays in foreign stocks that she says should perform well in an economic downturn, according to Barron's.

"As long as the balance sheets are strong, as long as there is significant financial strength versus peers, we’re interested," Ketterer told Barron's. Her major fund, the Causeway International Value (CIVVX), has topped its peers over one, three, five, 10, and 15 years, as well as this year, per Barron's.

Here is a look at four of her favorite holdings.


Ketterer singled out Volkswagen AG (VLKAY), emphasizing the company's strong financial position and modest valuation, according to Barron's. At the time of the Barron's report, its stock was trading at a forward earnings multiple that is far lower than many other companies in Europe. Further, Volkswagen retained a strong financial position when the 'Dieselgate' scandal struck in 2015. The scandal, which involved Volkswagen installing software in its vehicles in order to cheat emissions tests, was blamed for the deaths of 5,000 people across Europe, International Business Times reported. (For more, see also: VW Scandal: How Has It Impacted Volkswagen's Stock?)

China Mobile

Telecommunications company China Mobile Ltd. (CHL) is another position in her fund. Ketterer said that the company is a leader in the world's most populous market, with 800 million subscribers, and has built up a significant cash position, Barron's reported. Another sign of strength is the 7% special dividend it paid recently. Going forward, China Mobile will grow revenue more quickly than China's economy, Ketterer predicted. 

Akzo Nobel

Akzo Nobel N.V.'s (AKZOY) shares boast a a free-cash flow yield of 5% and have been trading at ultra-cheap prices: a ratio of nine times enterprise value to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization for 2018, according to Barron's. Ketterer noted that the company, which makes everyday materials like speciality chemicals and paints, has a strong market presence and a sound financial position. The company's securities have risen more than 50% year-to-date at the time of this report.


Encana Corp (ECA), a North American energy producer, stands out for its unusually low valuation, according to Barron's. The company, which has investments in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin, as well as the Montney Formation, currently trades as if crude oil were trading at $30 a barrel instead of around $50, said Ketterer. The company's stock could see significant upside should oil prices climb further, (For more, see also: 5 Biggest Risks Faced By Oil And Gas Companies.

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