On Monday, the Dow closed at a new all-time high. That's the 35th time it's pulled off such a feat this year. While I'll take soaring prices over slumping ones any day of the week, it does make finding bargains more difficult. And that's a problem, since the secret to investing is truly as simple as always buying low and selling high.
You're in luck today, though. Because I've dug up two cheap investments, one of which is operating in the fastest-growing industry in the world. On such merits, there's really only one direction for share prices to head from here.
From Russia With Love
The thought of investing in Russia right now probably makes you cringe. Even the pundits find it hard to muster up any optimism. "Assuming some 'optical' recovery in the fourth quarter, [Russia's] annual GDP growth is unlikely to come higher than 1.5%," says Vladimir Kolychev, Chief Economist at VTB Capital in Moscow. (And we thought U.S. GDP growth prospects were bad!)
Of course, we know that economic growth isn't a necessary precursor for a meaningful stock market rally. Undeniably cheap equity prices, on the other hand, are of utmost importance. And just like the United States in early 2009, that's something Russia definitely possesses right now.
As I shared last week, Russian stocks are the cheapest among all the emerging market countries in the world. Granted, Russian stocks typically trade at a discount to most emerging markets. But not by this much. A recent study by JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) found that Russian stocks trade four standard deviations below the average for emerging markets. I'm sure the Kremlin isn't happy about these low valuations. But data never lies!
The Market Vectors Russia Fund (NYSEARCA:RSX), which I shared before, represents a no-hassle way to capitalize on multiple dirt-cheap Russian stocks with a single investment. But as subscriber, Jeff W., pointed out in an email, "The fund is heavily weighted to oil and, in case you haven't noticed, oil isn't performing too well." He's right. Roughly 42% of the fund's investments are in energy companies, which is to be expected. After all, Russia is the world's largest energy exporter.
I'm guessing that subscribers like Jeff are more interested in a cheap Russian investment, operating in a sector with the most robust growth forecasts. Look no further than VimpelCom (NYSE:VIP).
Go Mobile or Go Home
Forget difficult, it's impossible to find a more compelling growth opportunity in the world than the exploding use of mobile devices. Every time new data is released, it becomes more and more obvious how big of an opportunity we're talking about here. Case in point: The latest figures from Ericsson AB indicate that there will be 9.3 billion mobile phone users worldwide by 2019, up from "only" 6.3 billion at the end of 2012.
Now, VimpelCom stands to benefit from this growth because it's one of the largest mobile companies in the world. Its operations span 18 countries, home to almost 800 million people. And Russia happens to be the company's biggest market. That's a good thing for VimpelCom, given that AC&M Consulting reports that Russia's mobile sales climbed 9% last year, while mobile data revenue surged 33%.
Sealing the Deal on Future Growth
A few weeks ago, VimpelCom reached a new agreement with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). As of October 25, it's officially selling the latest iPhones - the 5S and 5C - in Russia. That's bound to boost VimpelCom's overall sales in the coming quarters. Especially since "Apple has a huge army of fans in Russia," according to Evgeny Golosnoy, analyst at IFC Metropol in Moscow.
Last month, VimpelCom also moved its listing from the NYSE to the Nasdaq exchange and joined the Nasdaq-100 Index. The transition all but guarantees that more and more investors will start paying attention to the stock. To top it off, it's trading for just 9.3 times forward earnings. That works out to a 42% discount to the average U.S. stock. Plus, it sports a dividend yield north of 6%. How many U.S. stocks do you know that can go head-to-head with those fundamentals? Not many.
Bottom line: As Luis Saenz at BCS Financial Group says, "VimpelCom has been an overlooked orphan in the market and that is changing now. Many more eyes will be on the stock now." Indeed! But that also means the bargain won't last long. So don't delay…