The economy is growing at its fastest pace in six years, the stock market is at an all-time high, the homebuilding industry is thriving, and consumer spending pushed Wal-Mart's profit up 26% last quarter.
We are not talking about the United States. We are talking about Mexico, a country most Americans think of only in terms of illegal immigration. But as workers keep streaming north, money is heading south. Foreign direct investment in Mexico rose more than 6% last year to nearly $19 billion, according to the Economy Ministry. Every broker or investment banker wants a piece of the action.
"It's a really exciting time for the domestic capital markets in Mexico," says Peter Goettler, who heads investment banking and debt capital for U.K.-based Barclays. New laws allow pension plans to invest in financial instruments other than government and corporate debt, which has created an explosion in investment in equities. Barclays has invested $100 million in Mexico. The company's iShares, its branded exchange traded funds, are now offered on the Mexican Stock Exchange and account for 15% of total daily trading volume.