Brazil: A good bet for sports and stocks
The FIFA World Cup and Olympics will been a boon to Brazil's economy. These investments could benefit.
Brazil will be heavily in focus over the next couple of years since they are hosting two of the largest world sporting events: the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016. Both will be held in Rio de Janeiro.
Either of these events is a big deal on its own. Hosting both is both a huge coup and a tremendous opportunity from a business point of view. Both events will require a dramatic upgrade to the infrastructure within the country, which should spur a considerable amount of economic activity.
Beyond these major sporting events, Brazil has enjoyed rare political stability for number of years and that combined with sustained growth for the last decade has transformed the country into a blossoming economic powerhouse.
Brazil has a number of things going for it including scale, abundant natural resources, and a politically favorable world position.
It has no significant enemies and a large world customer base, particularly China which is anxious to acquire lots of iron ore and oil, of which Brazil has plenty.
As a result, economists are predicting that Brazil's GDP growth should average about 4% over the next three years.
That's slower than the growth rate in recent years but a lot better than what both the Europeans and the North Americans are looking at; in fact it's probably double what we might expect.
No story is complete without some caveats and it's true that Brazil has battled inflationary pressures for years, with the rate now running around 7%. This is causing their central bank to keep interest rates high, which could be a drag on growth going forward.
Corporate taxes are likely the highest in any of the emerging markets, running over 35%, and there is still a strong socialist streak that runs through the country's leadership.
But these caveats aside, it is likely that over the next couple of years investors will see significant returns by having some exposure to Brazil.
Political interference aside, both the huge and profitable iron ore company Vale (VALE) and the country's crown jewel, Petrobras (PBR) are great companies and I think you could take a position in either or both now.
Another popular ADR is AmBev (ABV), or Companhia De Bedidas, which is the number one brewer of beer and distributor of soft drinks in the country.
I also own shares of Banco Santander Brazil SA (BSBR) which is currently trading 44% below its 52-week high but has a yield of 8.5% and a p/e ratio of less than eight.
There are two other banks you could consider: Itua Unibanco (ITUB) and Banco Bradesco (BBD). Both are larger in Brazil than BSBR but all three tend to trade in unison so I tend to buy the least expensive issue with the highest yield.
Of course, most investors buy Brazil through various ETFs or mutual funds that focus on the area.
The largest by far in terms of assets is the iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ). It has had a huge run this past month, rebounding by nearly 20%, but is still down about 18% year to date.
This ETF holds many of the issues mentioned above but spreads out the risk that may be involved with any particular equity.
Since this gives you the whole country in one neat package, it's the best choice for someone who wants to add some Brazilian exposure to a portfolio without being forced to decide between individual stocks. It's my top pick for this month.
To sum up, there are many ways to get involved with what appears to be a bright future in Brazil and since their markets have lagged this year you are buying some of these assets at discounted prices. That's not going to last forever.
My father invested in Petrobras over 20 years ago. He has Made NOTHING on his Investment. You would be insane to invest in that Country. They are SOCIALIST. The Govt takes what it wants. I am married to a Brasilian. The poverty and crime still exist. Wait until all the fools go to Rio for World Cup and Olympics. They will be robbed AND the cost to stay...HAHAHA. You will pay a FORTUNE for Hotels, Taxis and Food.
Taxi from the Aeroport will cost you over $100. Want to buy a pair of shoes...$200-$300. Over priced and poor quality. Warren Buffet tried to invest there and he bailed out real fast.
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