The appetite for foreign stocks among U.S. investors has high since last year despite the credit crisis and the current recession. Last year's market performance proved that the so-called decoupling theory of emerging markets being different from developed markets is not correct. In fact, many of the emerging market indices such those in Russia, India, Brazil, China actually fell much more than the developed market indices.
U.S. investors' attraction towards overseas stocks started increasing after the dot-com bubble burst. These investors hold foreign stocks for a variety of reasons such as diversification, high dividend yields, and explosive growth in emerging markets. The interest in foreign company stocks via American Depository Receipts (ADRs) continued through the crisis last year. According to Bank of New York Mellon's ADR site, over 735 New Depositary Receipt Programs from around the world were introduced between Oct. 1, 2008 and Aug. 17, 2009. The majority of these companies were listed on the OTC markets. Some of the well-known companies listed on the OTC markets such as Credit Agricole (OTCPK:CRARY) and Careefour (CRERY.PK) of France. The 735 ADRs have very thin daily trading volumes since they are new and are not listed on the organized exchanges.
Let's take a quick look at Four foreign stocks were listed on the New York Stock Exchange this year (Source: The Bank of New York Mellon DR Directory).
1. China-based Chemspec International Limited (NYSE:CPC) is a contract manufacturer of specialty chemicals. The ADR effective date was June 24, 2009. The current market cap is $246M and the company pays no regular dividends. Total sales in Q2 2009 were $34.2M, an increase of 8.1% from Q2 2008. Net Income amounted to $7.9M. Chemspec holds US$69.3 million in cash primarily from the proceeds of its IPO.
2. Duoyuan Global Water (DGW) is a domestic water treatment equipment supplier in China. "The Company's product offerings focus on addressing the steps in the water treatment process, such as filtration, water softening, water-sediment separation, aeration, disinfection and reverse osmosis. It offers a set of more than 80 complementary products across the three product categories: Circulating Water Treatment Equipment, Water Purification Equipment and Wastewater Treatment Equipment." Since pollution is a major problem in many Chinese cities, Duoyuan may be a good pick. Since its June launch, DGW is up more than 50%. The stock closed at $30.42 last Friday. The P/E ratio is 78.81.
3. Denmark-based fixed-line telecom services provider Invitel (IHO) started trading in on the AMEX (now NYSE-owned) in late February. Invitel has operations in Romania through its subsidiary Euroweb Romania. The company provides its services to about 17% of the population of Hungary. IHO is down 23% since its IPO. "Invitel Holdings' net income attributable to ordinary shareholders for the quarter ended June 30, 2009 was EUR 16.7 million, or EUR 1.00 per ordinary share."
4. Votorantim Celulose e Papel (VCP) is a pulp and paper products company based in Brazil. The company also makes wood-free printing and writing papers and specialty papers. VCP is up 114% YTD. Votorantim has 390M shares outstanding and the beta is 2.9.