Global markets took a breather this past week, with earnings season set to begin.
But it was a good week for India’s ICICI Bank (IBN), which recovered 6.5% since last Monday. The Swedish ETF (EWD) also was up almost 3% this past week.
Since our initial recommendations, Sweden (EWD) rose 9.55%, the U.K.’s Tesco (TSCDY) climbed 5.04%, and Latin American cell phone company America Movil (AMX) jumped 4.42%. All of our recommendations remain buys at these levels.
Otherwise, I am hard at work on the next issue of the Global Stock Investor that will feature a terrific opportunity in one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. I call it the "Indiana Jones" of its industry, as it’ll take you to some of the rapidly expanding and least known parts of the world.
SWEDISH ETF (EWD)
In a further sign of the deregulation that is sweeping the Swedish market, the nation’s government commissioned a report aimed at opening Sweden’s lucrative pharmaceutical market to foreign competition for the first time. That would mean state-owned firm Apoteket’s monopoly would come to an end by January 2009. Several leading international operators are keen to gain access to Sweden’s lucrative market. And, Sweden’s (soon to be former) monopoly pharmacy is already holding talks with potential foreign partners.
Our safest bet, EWD, has been our best performing one so far. It is up almost 10% since our initial recommendation. This is certainly the least volatile of our picks, so you can feel comfortable adding to your position at these levels.
AM‰RICA M“VIL (AMX)
América M³vil and AT&T are still in talks about each acquiring one-third of Olimpia SpA, a shell company that controls Telecom Italia. América M³vil’s investment in Telecom Italia would be aimed at strengthening its position in Brazil, where Telecom Italia unit TIM Brasil is particularly strong. Under the terms of the exclusive talks that current Olimpia shareholder Pirelli is conducting with AT&T and América M³vil, the prospective seller can’t examine any competing offers until the end of the month. Telecom Italia’s chairman has already resigned after some boardroom maneuvering. Closing this deal would provide a major boost to América M³vil’s stock.
Another accolade for América M³vil is that Antoine van Agtmael, the man who coined the term "emerging markets" while working at the IFC in 1981, designated América M³vil as one of the 25 world-class emerging market multinationals in his most recent book, The Emerging Markets Century: How A New Breed of World-Class Companies is Overtaking the World.
This hedge fund favorite is a long-term growth play and you should buy the stock on any dips.
COGNIZANT TECHNOLOGIES (CTSH)
If U.S. Immigration policy is a sign of the times, Cognizant’s outsourcing business model has a way to go.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it received enough H-1B petitions (for highly qualified workers like engineers) to meet the congressionally mandated cap for fiscal year 2008 in the first two days of the New Year. In contrast, it took nearly two months for the cap to be reached for fiscal year 2007. In the big picture, this means more money than ever for an outsourcing company like Cognizant.
ICICI BANK (IBN)
ICICI Bank’s decision to transfer stakes of 74% in its insurance and 51% in its asset management businesses to a separate, wholly owned subsidiary company, ICICI Holdings, should unlock significant value for its life insurance business and provide further visibility to aid its stock’s valuation. The analyst community has taken a cue from comparable valuations given to the Chinese insurers such as China Life. That alone should give the stock a 30% upside from current levels.
HOME INNS & HOTELS (HMIN)
Our big picture play on the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing is locked in a trading range around $36. Although the stock is off its previous peak, given its spectacular financials, the rapidly growing marketplace and its jump start on the competition, Home Inns could easily double in the next 12 months.