Emerging Opportunities in Mexico and Canada

Originally published on Daily Finance, April 30, 2012.

In times of market uncertainty, investors often look to international and emerging markets for diversification and better returns. At this point, investors might want to look north and south to Canada and Mexico. Aside from China, Canada and Mexico are the U.S.' top two trading partners, and while somewhat independent, they also can benefit from a U.S. recovery.

Scott Barclay of The Investing Opinion newsletter said, "Both Canada and Mexico represent opportunity and peril. An investor needs to be confident that oil will rise in price to consider Canada a good investment. Mexico is actually more diverse. However, government corruption presents headline risk." Notably, both countries' economies have been growing faster than that of the U.S.

John O'Donnell of Online Trading Academy said that Mexico could "take over the manufacturing prowess that China currently holds," mentioning that Mexico's wages are only 42% higher than China's, in comparison to 250% higher 10 years prior. He also mentions that Mexico's proximity to the U.S. is beneficial for shipping costs when compared to China.

Business section: Investing ideas

If you're looking for diversification or better returns, Mexico and Canada might be better options than the U.S. economy right now. Below is a list of Mexican and Canadian stocks that are seeing institutional buying. Do you think they present more opportunity than the U.S.?

List sorted by market cap.

  1. lululemon athletica (NAS: LULU): Engages in the design, manufacture, and distribution of athletic apparel and accessories for women, men, and female youth primarily in Canada, the United States, and Australia. It has a market cap of $10.73 billion, most recent closing price at $73.42. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 6.3 million shares, which represents about 6.36% of the company's float of 99.13 million shares.
  2. Pengrowth Energy Corporation (NYS: PGH): Engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas reserves in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. It has a market cap of $3.21 billion, most recent closing price at $8.86. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 28.2 million shares, which represents about 7.86% of the company's float of 358.99 million shares.
  3. NovaGold Resources (NYS: NG): Engages in the exploration and development of mineral properties primarily in North America. It has a market cap of $1.95 billion, most recent closing price at $7.02. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 13.3 million shares, which represents about 7.06% of the company's float of 188.43 million shares.
  4. Lions Gate Entertainment (NYS: LGF): Engages in the motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, new channel platforms, and digital distribution activities. It has a market cap of $1.57 billion, most recent closing price at $12.41. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 19.8 million shares, which represents about 61.57% of the company's float of 32.16 million shares.
  5. Westport Innovations (NAS: WPRT): Provides alternative fuel, low-emissions technologies that enable engines to operate on fuels, such as compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and biofuels. It has a market cap of $1.72 billion, most recent closing price at $30.19. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 2.7 million shares, which represents about 6.5% of the company's float of 41.56 million shares.
  6. Central GoldTrust: Primarily invests in unencumbered gold bullion. It has a market cap of $1.21 billion, most recent closing price at $62.60. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 1.8 million shares, which represents about 9.33% of the company's float of 19.29 million shares.
  7. Lone Pine Resources: Engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, and the Northwest Territories of Canada. It has a market cap of $501.65 million, most recent closing price at $5.92. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 53.4 million shares, which represents about 73.28% of the company's float of 72.87 million shares.

  8. EXFO: Designs, manufactures, and markets test and service assurance solutions for wireless and wireline network operators, and equipment manufacturers in the telecommunications industry worldwide. It has a market cap of $441.65 million, most recent closing price at $7.29. Company is headquartered in Canada. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 2.3 million shares, which represents about 9.34% of the company's float of 24.62 million shares.
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