The American stock market continues to face an uncertain outlook. 2023 started off on a brighter note with many companies rallying sharply to start the year. But continued high inflation numbers cast doubt on the idea the Federal Reserve will let up on its rate-hiking campaign. Stocks slid to end February, and uncertainty remains high. This has some investors turning to the opportunities in other areas such as emerging markets. Growth stocks in emerging markets could have much brighter prospects than American ones given the difference in macroeconomic conditions.
On top of that, emerging markets underperformed dramatically as compared to the S&P 500 over the past decade. This could leave emerging market growth stocks in a position to deliver superior returns going forward.
These three growth stocks have a particularly strong angle for profiting as emerging markets gain strength.
|PAC||Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico||$191.36|
JD.com (NASDAQ:JD) is China’s second-largest e-commerce company. The company has differentiated itself from Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) by focusing on two differentiating factors.
JD has built a reputation for having authentic high-quality products, which stands out in a market where knockoffs and imitations are sometimes a concern. In addition, JD has invested heavily in logistics. Its pioneering efforts in areas such as cargo drones have helped the company stand out with rapid reliable deliveries. That edge became particularly useful during the pandemic as e-commerce became ever more vital.
The numbers back this up. JD grew revenue from $55 billion in 2017 to $150 billion in 2021. For a company that was already so large, nearly tripling revenues in that span is quite the achievement.
However, JD stock plunged over the past year. This came about with a slowdown in the Chinese economy. As Covid-19 restrictions lingered in the Chinese market, this impacted consumer demand. JD managed only roughly flat revenues for 2022.
But the growth story is merely paused rather than played out. JD is projected to get back on track in 2023 and grow revenue to $172.4 billion, which would mark a 14% year-over-year increase. And now, shares are trading for less than 20 times forward earnings. With JD stock down nearly 60% from its 2021 peak, shares represent a great way to ride the Chinese e-commerce trend at an attractive price.
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (PAC)
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (NYSE:PAC) is one of three publicly traded Mexican airport operators. In the early 2000s, the Mexican government privatized dozens of airports around the country. The airports along the Pacific Ocean became the Pacific Airport Group.
The firm’s flagship airport is Guadalajara, which currently handles more than 15 million passengers per year and is one of the ten busiest airports in Latin America. In addition to that, the company’s Tijuana Airport has seen a boom in business thanks to a new cross-border pedestrian bridge which allows passengers to disembark and travel directly to San Diego without dealing with a highway border crossing.
And on the tourist side of things, Pacifico operates the key travel airports of Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos. Mexican tourism has boomed since 2020. The country had some of the lightest Covid-19 related restrictions and testing requirements of the region, which caused many travelers to pick Mexico instead of other alternatives. This momentum has stuck, with Mexican tourism-related airports reporting 30% or greater year-over-year passenger growth recently.
As if all this weren’t enough, Mexico is now securing huge amounts of foreign investment into the country as companies rapidly adjust their supply chains and set up factories closer to the United States. Pacifico, with airports like Tijuana and Guadalajara, is positioned to grab a large part of incremental new traffic in Mexico as the U.S. and Mexican economies more closely integrate.
Pacifico shares have appreciated 100% over the past five years, despite the pandemic. Even so, shares still go for less than 20 times forward earnings. And with traffic growing at more than 30% annually right now, there should be plenty of earnings growth coming in the future as well.
Visa (NYSE:V) is another great option for getting exposure to emerging markets. Historically, Visa started out as a U.S. credit card company. Nowadays, however, the market is largely tapped for credit and debit cards in developed markets such as the United States and Western Europe.
Rather, the opportunity lies in emerging markets where there is far less adoption of credit to date. Cash remains a major factor in many emerging markets, and Visa stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries as these countries adopt plastic at a higher rate.
This process was accelerated to a substantial degree because of the pandemic. Suddenly, retailers rushed to offer e-commerce checkout while trying to also reduce the rate of cash acceptance at physical stores. A generation of emerging market consumers that were formerly comfortable with cash have begun to explore the benefits of having a card too.
According to a recent McKinsey report, noncash retail payment transactions grew at a stunning 25% per year annualized in emerging markets between 2018 and 2021. This tends to be higher-margin activity for Visa, especially when cross-border transactions with currency conversions are involved.
Visa saw its earnings growth slow during the early stages of the pandemic. However, the company’s results got back on track in 2022. Shares, however, are still off their highs. V stock is currently going for 26 times forward earnings, whereas historically it has tended to trade north of 30 times. Throw in double-digit earnings growth powered by its rapid gains in emerging markets, and Visa’s future remains bright.
On the date of publication, Ian Bezek held a long position in PAC and V stock. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.