In my 20-plus years of covering global markets, the single biggest objection or fear I hear from investors isn’t that they don’t want to buy foreign stocks or bonds… it’s that they just don’t know how.
Well, investing globally is much easier than many are led to believe, and in my recently published book, Where in the World Should I Invest, I show you exactly how painless and profitable it is.
But to get you started today, here are three great ways to play foreign shares…
Foreign Shares Play #1: ADRs or GDRs
American and Global Depositary Receipts are the simplest way to invest, but the downside is that they give you limited choice. ADRs and GDRs are shares traded on U.S. or European Exchanges, which represent the underlying shares in the respective foreign countries. They’re sponsored by major banks that issue the shares to correspond with the local share market. For example, take the Mexican telephone giant, Telmex. Its U.S. shares are really ADRs that are based on the actual Telmex shares traded locally in Mexico.
Foreign Shares Play #2: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Mutual Funds and Closed End Funds (CEFs)
These funds contain baskets of foreign stocks, giving you exposure to particular countries or sectors. The downside? While more popular than ADRs, they may not offer the specific coverage you might desire. For instance, maybe you hate the Chinese banking sector. But if you buy the FXI (the Chinese ETF that represents the top 30 Chinese stocks) you’re going to end up with a hefty number of financial companies anyway.
Foreign Shares Play #3: Go Local
Finally, my favorite of the three plays. Going local means buying shares of companies that trade on the local market but that may not have ADRs or be part of any funds. Companies like the largest food producer in Thailand, a Malaysian rubber company, or a cement company from Indonesia. And even gold mining companies from South Africa, Australia and Latin America can be bought if you know how.
These investments might sound exotic, but their operations aren’t dissimilar to their U.S. counterparts… except, that is, for their enormous growth potential.
What’s more, in addition to the superior number of choices they offer, buying locally gives you an edge in currency and spreads.
You see, when you buy ADRs of foreign companies – or even shares through many U.S. brokers – you pay an extra for currency translation and trading costs. Buying locally, on the other hand, allows you to place orders based on real-time pricing.
This play used to be more difficult before the internet came along, but now you can make these trades with ease through a discount broker on your laptop.
One excellent broker based out of Hong Kong – Boom Securities – has an online platform that allows you to trade most Asian markets seamlessly in real time, right from a computer. All you have to do is open an account, get a password and wire your funds.
Boom’s not new to the business, either. It’s worked for years with companies like Tradestation, which is based in the United States. You can trade more than 17 markets through a multicurrency account, giving you the best prices and execution in real time on these exchanges. In my book, I devote several pages to trading foreign securities and how to open up an account at Boom, plus a great deal more about global investing in general.
As for the rest of the week, I’ll be serving up daily excerpts from my book here on Wall Street Daily to give you a great taste of the astounding growth of emerging market opportunities. But if you want to beat the crowd, you can pick up your copy today.
Ahead of the tape,