An employee checks an electrical harness for a Bombardier jet at the company's manufacturing facility in Queretaro, Mexico © Susana Gonzalez, Bloomberg via Getty Images

A worker checks an electrical harness for a Bombardier jet at the company's manufacturing facility in Queretaro, Mexico.

Something not so funny has happened on the road to the future. The five overseas markets that were supposed to pave that road have crumbled, by and large, and some of them have even turned into potholes.

Oddly enough, the emerging markets that look like the best road now to future profits are much, much smaller than those BRICS -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- and don't even register in many investors' portfolios.

And on the evidence, they should. Most of us should own more stocks from Chile, Colombia and Mexico, from Turkey, the Philippines and Singapore, and from Nigeria and Kenya, than we do. It's not easy -- I spend my days looking for great companies to buy in those markets for my mutual fund, Jubak Global Equity (JUBAX), and I can tell you it's a hard search. But it is possible.

And I think that search is crucial to building a portfolio for the emerging emerging-markets world. So today, I'm going to share a few.

Beating the BRICS

There's nothing especially wrong with the BRICS markets -- except that in the cases of Russia, India and South Africa, those economies have developed deep, deep problems. And that, across the BRICS group, many of the biggest plays on these emerging markets have underperformed smaller peers.

Drum roll: some numbers, please.

Established BRICS in 2012, through Nov. 7: iShares MSCI Brazil Index (EWZ) up 5.12%; iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index (ERUS) up 5.83%; iShares MSCI China Index (MCHI) up 6.58%; and iShares MSCI South Africa Index (EZA) up 9.22%.

Jim Jubak

Jim Jubak

Not bad, you say. I'd agree. Although the U.S. Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) is up 16.43% year to date.

Now, the emerging emerging markets for the same period: iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index (TUR), up 50.22%; iShares MSCI Chile Investable Market Index (ECH), up 8.21% to date; Mexico Bolsa (not traded in the U.S.) up 10.61%; iShares MSCI Singapore Index (EWS), up 25.24%; and iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Index (EPHE) up 36.07%.

What intrigues me about these emerging emerging markets, even after some of them have had this run, is that the fundamentals driving these stocks are by no means exhausted. Besides the usual developing-economy story -- above-global-average growth in gross domestic product leads to rising incomes, which leads to rising demand for everything from chickens to appliances to education -- the markets I've flagged are getting the benefit of sounder-than-average monetary and economic policies that are moving these countries up the credit quality scale. Turkey, for example, just got a debt upgrade from Fitch Ratings, moving the country up to investment grade for the first time in almost 20 years

You can find similar stories at most of these other emerging emerging economies. This fall, Moody's Investors Service began talking about raising Mexico's credit rating to A3 from Baa1. Moody's last upgraded Mexico in 2005. Moody's and Standard & Poor's both raised Colombia's credit rating to investment grade in 2011 and in August upgraded Colombia from stable to positive, a sign that the country could get another upgrade in 2013. Standard & Poor's raised its rating on the Philippines to BB+, one step below investment grade in August, and in October, Moody's moved the country to Ba1, also one rung below investment grade.

With many of these emerging emerging markets just now making the transition to investment grade, there's still plenty of room for future improvement.

Why do you care about this trend? A higher credit rating allows a country to borrow money at a lower interest rate, and that stimulates the domestic economy. Expanding or starting a business gets cheaper. Financing a new home gets cheaper.

And the contrast with what's happening in the world's largest economies is catching investors' attention. At a time when the United States, Japan and much of Europe are facing downgrades, these emerging emerging market economies are looking like better risks.

Selling at home

Of course, these economies still exist in the same world as China, the United States and other big global economic powers. A slowdown in the Chinese or U.S. economy hurts the export sectors in these economies. But even then, so robust is domestic growth that these countries stand a better chance of coming through with decent growth. That's especially true because healthy fiscal and monetary policies give these governments some room to run countercyclical economic policies -- they can stimulate their economies when they slow.

What I've been looking for over the past year or so, then, are solid, domestically oriented companies with a strong consumer bias. I'm certainly not averse to a company that combines those qualities with an export business as long as the company has found a way to diversify its sales to make up for any slowdown in the world's big developed economies.

Buying in

I've got a few suggestions for you to research and add to your portfolios.

When do you want to buy? I'd suggest dollar-cost averaging into these stocks. While they are long-term picks, these stocks have enough volatility that you'd like to buy more when the price is low and less when the price is high.

My favorites in Turkey include: Anadolu Efes Biracilik Ve Malt Sanayi (AEBZY), a producer of beer and a bottler of Coca-Cola that sells in a market that stretches from Russia and Eastern Europe through the Middle East, and Arcelik (ACKAY), which sells its refrigerators, washing machines, cooking appliances and vacuum cleaners in more than 100 countries and is the third-largest appliance-maker in Europe.

In Mexico, I like Grupo Televisa (TV), the second-largest media conglomerate in Latin America and provider of an increasing amount of Spanish-language content in the United States through its relationship with Univision, and Industrias Bachoco (IBA), the country's largest poultry producer.

In Chile, I'd go with CorpBanca (BCA), Chile's fifth largest bank and a major beneficiary of the pullback of Spanish banks in Latin America -- CorpBanca bought Banco Santander's (SAN) Colombian unit in December 2011 -- and LatAm Airlines (LFL), the dominant airline in Latin America.

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