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Cramer has always recommended owning stocks with overseas exposure as one of the best ways to diversify a portfolio. That’s especially true in 2010, he says, because the Democrats controlling Washington have proved themselves very unfriendly toward American business.
At the same time, countries overseas are more pro-growth, they seem less skittish about using natural resources, they impose fewer taxes, and they aren’t as exposed to the massive budget deficits we carry here in the States.
Put simply, "Other nations have revered private business more than we have," Cramer says.
This doesn’t mean that US-focused stocks won’t work at all. Indeed, Cramer’s charitable trust is composed largely of bellwether Dow and S&P 500 names. But he does suggest that investors spread out their risk, and maybe even seek out growth, with strong international companies.
So what stocks should you buy? Cramer compiled a list of his 10 favorites, picking the best names doing business in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Read on to find out who they are.
Note: Cramer is not rating all of these stocks as buys at all times. Readers must do their homework before buying, if they choose to do so.
One of the largest phone companies in the country, China Unicom also runs a growing wireless business. The company presently controls 21 percent of the wireless market, but its exclusive agreement to sell the Apple iPhone should help expand that footprint. So, too, will CHU’s move into 3G technology.
At the time of this story's publish, Cramer's charitable trust owned China Unicom.
Brazil right now is in the middle of a "credit revolution," Cramer said. That’s why he likes some of the country’s banks, including Banco Bradesco.
An even better play on Brazilian banks than Banco Bradesco, Cramer said, is Spain’s Banco Santander (STD), which IPO’d its Brazilian unit, BSBR, back in October. But why own STD and not BSBR? Because in cases likes this Cramer always recommends the parent company over its subsidiary.
Brazil’s Vale is the second-largest mining company in the world, as well as the top high-grade iron-ore producer in the world. The company also digs for nickel and copper, and earnings from all these assets could jump as much as 40% in 2010, thanks to strong volume growth and higher commodity prices.
Copper is at the heart of almost any economic recovery, whether here in the States or abroad, as it’s a basic material for all kinds of construction. Well, PCU is the fifth-largest copper miner in the world and attributes 70 percent of its net revenues to the commodity. The more demand there is, and we know China is a big consumer, the higher this stock will go.
Cramer called BHP a "one-stop shop for everything we pull out of the ground": aluminum, copper, iron ore, coal, nickel, zinc, lead, uranium. There’s even some oil exposure here. The company earns a big chunk of its business – 20 percent – from China, hence the stock’s inclusion on this list. Cramer also likes the $11 billion in cash BHP has to make business-enhancing acquisitions.
FCX offers portfolio protection in two ways: First, the company is the world’s second-biggest copper producer, operating largely in Indonesia and selling to China, which makes the stock a great international-diversification play. And second, Freeport also mines gold, the precious metal that investors flock to during times of market volatility.
Stability in Iraq should translate into a huge increase in drilling there, and probably no company is better positioned in the country than Weatherford. Cramer has said the company – which also has a strong presence in Latin America and Russia – holds "the best international contracts" and boasts "the best growth prospects in the business."
At the time of this story's publish, Cramer's charitable trust owned Weatherford International.
Norway’s Statoil ASA may be the sixth-largest largest oil company in Europe, but it is top ranked in another key metric: the impact on earnings per $1 increase in crude prices. For Statoil, EPS jumps 3.6% every time oil goes up a buck, while the rest of the sector adds just 2.1%. Cramer’s also a big fan of the company’s international exposure, which comprises properties in Brazil, Algeria and Indonesia, among others.
Lastly, there’s BNS, which offers a 3.9% dividend yield. This company has more international exposure than any of its Canadian peers, with 38% of loans extended beyond its borders. And with Tier 1 capital ratios at 10.7%, Bank of Nova Scotia looks to be in much better shape than many American institutions. The Street may be sleeping on this one now, but Cramer said the potential for upgrades is high.