Wednesday, 11 September 2013

How to approach international stocks?

The examination of these stocks for your international investing are the same.  Follow the QMV approach.

1.  Look at the QUALITY of the company (the existence of competitive advantages)
2.  Its MANAGEMENT must be of integrity and smart (and not suspicious management)
3.  The VALUATION of the company (and not an outrageously high valuation)

However, you need to add other risks to your due diligence process too.

1,  Country risk 
What's the political environment?
Is corruption a problem?
How is the country's debt structured?
What are its plans for economic development?

2.  Political risk
This is a subset of country risk.
Is there a real threat of nationalization?
Is there a real threat of rebellion or military action?

3.  Currency risk
This is a risk unique to foreign investing.
Pay attention to the level of exposure a company has to weak currencies.
Be reminded, Zimbabwe's insane inflation rate hit 66,000% in the early months of 2008.

4.  Investability risk
Are you able to buy shares of a company.
Do you have access to one of the exchanges it trades on?

So, to summarise, look for countries with:
1.  Respect for rule of law, strong rights of appeal, and low levels of corruption.
2.  Political stability and a government that doesn't dominate the local economy.
3.  A stable currency
4   Investability

Also, apply the bottom up search for the best companies with the brightest prospects.  

Be reminded once again.
-  Your top priority is to invest in your best ideas - ignoring country, sector, or number of vowels in the ticker.
-  Your secondary concern should be ensuing that you're not overexposed to any specific geographic region or industry sector.

With the U.S. market moving in lockstep with overseas markets (high correlation) - a trend that certainly doesn't seem to be reversing itself- diversification is no longer the reason to consider foreign equities for your portfolio.  

The reason to look overseas is much simpler:  opportunity.   

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