While a few leaders are starting to surface in emerging markets, we're nowhere near anything like a real bull market. The sensitivity to bad news exhibited by developed market stocks is even higher for their emerging counterparts.
I have two stocks that I've been following, although the reasons for my interest are different for each:
China Mobile It's the dominant wireless service provider in China, with well over a half-billion subscribers. China Mobile became a powerhouse by rolling up the old leading provincial wireless networks and turning them into a national network.
The company has hit some obstacles, including slowing revenue growth from the heady days when it was still gobbling up competitors and efforts by the Chinese government to lessen its dominance.
Still, double-digit revenue in the past five quarters (and 12 of the last 16) isn't bad at all, and after-tax profit margins haven't dipped below 20 per cent for years.
The problem with CHL is that its stock price is as flat as a squirrel on the freeway, with rock-solid support at $44 (U.S.) stretching back to late 2009 and resistance in the low $50s.
On the other hand, that kind of calmness can seem like a good thing when markets are careening around like kids on a Halloween sugar buzz. And when you add in the stock's handsome 3.8 per cent forward dividend rate and a trailing P/E ratio of just ten, there's a lot to like about China Mobile.
Personally, as a growth investor, I'm waiting for some move on the company's part to get its stock out of its straitjacket trading range. But there's real strength here that might interest investors with a value-oriented long-term approach.
Brasil Foods With a year-to-date price appreciation of nearly 25 per cent, this venerable Brazilian meat and processed-food giant is one of the year's leading stocks in South America.
Brasil Foods has been around since 1900 (under the name Perdigao until 2009), and has found a great niche in shipping kosher and halal foods to the Middle East (32 per cent of 2010 revenues), pushing revenue growth over 40 per cent per year for the past four years.
BRFS has been consistently outperforming the broad market, and pushed out to new all-time price highs on October 31. This is a good-looking stock that really soared in October, launching from $17 (U.S.) to near $22 on good volume.
Paul Goodwin is editor of Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report.