With Marc Faber making the rounds and predicting that the US$ will go to zero, this week's screen for foreign stocks seems particularly timely. Unfortunately, investors looking to make a move now must contend with a very weak dollar, which makes overseas stocks more expensive. The specific criteria I used are listed below:
- (Domestic / Foreign = Foreign)
- (Current Year Free Cash Flow > 0)
- (Exchange not = OTC)
- (Dividend Yield % > 3)
- (Return on Assets % – Trailing 12 Months >= 15)
I was looking for solid foreign companies traded on a major US exchange. They needed to generate positive free cash flow in the most recent fiscal year with return on assets over 15% in that same time frame. I also wanted a nice dividend to get tangible benefits from a declining dollar as the actual dividend as paid in US dollars should increase even if the dividend in foreign currency remains constant.
The biggest flaw of this screen is excluding stocks traded over the counter. Many large and well-respected foreign companies do not list their stocks on an exchange for various reasons so keep that in mind.
The 15 companies seemed to bunch around the commodity and telecom industries and spanned the globe from Canadian oil trusts like Baytex (BTE) and Enerplus (ERF) to telecoms like China Mobile (CHL) and a pair of Israeli wireless companies. A handful of commodity shippers like Frontline (FRO) and Safe Bulkers (SB) also made the screen.
The near year-long rally combined with the drop in the US dollar means most of these stocks are near 52-week highs. Keep in mind that the 52 week period begins post-Lehman so some of these names may be coming off very low bases.
Check out the complete list of stocks in table format. Note that prices were as of 10/17/2009, when I ran the screen.