There are certainly many reasons to be upbeat on emerging market stocks. One of those factors is a weaker dollar, which will enable emerging market companies to import products more cheaply and improve their financial results. Two, emerging market names names have underperformed U.S. stocks for the last decade, making a reversal in the trend quite likely at this point. Finally, inflation is reportedly less intense in most emerging markets than in Europe and the U.S.
Meanwhile, two Wall Street firms– BlackRock and Morgan Stanley — have thrown their weight behind EM stocks in recent weeks. Specifically, BlackRock upgraded its rating on EM stock to “overweight” in February citing what it sees as a positive outlook for the Chinese economy, while Morgan Stanley last month wrote “We believe it is time to turn overweight on Growth stocks in Asia/EM again.”
|MLCO||Melco Resorts & Entertainment||$14.39|
Best Emerging Market Stocks: JinkoSolar (JKS)
As I noted in a recent column, the EU’s “solar capacity could triple above its current levels ‘by 2026,'” a prominent think tank estimated. And ” by 2029, the EU wants renewables to generate 45% of all of its energy.” Meanwhile, “China is expected to add 95 to 120 gigawatts (GW) of solar power in 2023.” That’s a huge amount of solar power. All of that is great news for JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS), as China and Europe together accounted for over 65% of its revenue in the fourth quarter of last year.
The sharp decline of polysilicon prices in recent weeks is also excellent news for JKS stock, as high prices of the material used in solar modules pushed down the company’s margins last year. Trading at a forward price-earnings ratio of just 8.8, JKS stock has an extremely attractive valuation. The company’s tremendous prospects and its low valuation make JKS one of the best emerging market stocks to invest in.
Best Emerging Market Stocks: ICICI Bank (IBN)
The Indian economy is expected to grow 6% in the year that ends in March 2024. That’s a very large increase, even though it’s below the 6.9% rate at which the Asian country grew over the last year. Also noteworthy is that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly moving a significant amount of its manufacturing business to the country and that India is slated to overtake China as the country with the world’s highest population this year. I believe that both of those developments, along with the perception of geopolitical tension between the U.S. and China, will spur many more U.S. companies to move their manufacturing operations from China to India.
And that would be good news for ICICI Bank (NYSE:IBN), a large, India-based financial institution. Importantly, the bank’s earnings from continuing operations climbed to $1.11 billion in its quarter that ended in December from $934 million in the same period a year earlier. And analysts, on average, expect its earnings per share to climb to $1.25 next year from $1.08 this year. Moreover, Investor’s Business Daily ranks IBN as the fourth best foreign bank and gives it a high Composite Score of 89 out of 100.
MakeMyTrip Limited (MMYT)
MakeMyTrip Limited (NASDAQ:MMYT) is an Indian online travel agency. As of last Feb., analysts’ average price target on the name was $38.67, well above its current price of $23.50. Moreover, the company is obviously benefiting a great deal from the pent-up demand for travel in India, as well as the rapidly growing Indian economy. In its fiscal third quarter that ended in December, its top line jumped to $170 million, up from $115 million during the same period a year earlier. And, despite lingering worries about the coronavirus, its revenue had almost matched levels last attained by the company back in its December 2017 quarter and came in well above the top line of $124 million that it generated in its December 2018 quarter.
In last year’s fiscal Q3, its earnings per share, excluding certain items, came in at 14 cents, surpassing analysts’ average estimate by 3 cents. Moreover, it generated an adjusted operating profit of $19.7 million.
“Trends suggest that, travelers are back on all travel segments with leisure, business, pilgrimage and corporate events and will continue to drive the growth in the coming years as well,” CEO Rajesh Magow said on the company’s Q3 earnings call.
In a previous column, published on March 24, I noted that the growth of MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), a Latin American e-commerce company, was quite explosive, as its “gross merchandise volume (GMV) jumped 35% year-over-year, excluding currency fluctuations” in the fourth quarter of last year. Further, its top line jumped over 56% YOY, excluding currency changes.
In recent weeks, multiple Wall Street analysts have been quite bullish on MELI stock. On April 13, MercadoLibre increased its price target on MELI stock to $1,680 from $1,400. The bank is convinced that the growth of MELI’s GMV will continue to exceed that of its peers. It maintained a “buy” rating on the shares.
Similarly, Morgan Stanley hiked its price target on the name to $1,770 from $1,620. After studying the company’s “commerce and fintech ecosystem,” the bank believes that the company profit outlook is “underappreciated.” Morgan Stanley maintained an “outperform” rating on the shares. Investor’s Business Daily gives MELI stock a Composite Rating of 99 out of 100.
Li Auto (LI)
The deliveries of Li Auto (NASDAQ:LI), a Chinese electric-vehicle maker, soared 89% year-over-year last month and 66% in the first quarter. The automaker has a huge presence in China, with 299 dealerships spread across 123 cities.
Also encouragingly, Li appears to be making progress on autonomous driving, as it’s testing a self-driving system that it intends to unveil later in 2023. The automaker expects the system “will be able to function without high-precision maps and, more importantly, to perceive, decide, and plan in real time like a human driver.” Also impressively, Li reports that its ” 800-volt fast charging solution” enables its EVs ” to achieve a driving range of 400 kilometers with just a 10-minute charge.” Meanwhile Li hopes to have a total of 11 models available by the end of 2025. LI stock isn’t cheap, as it has a trailing price-sales ratio of 3.5. Still, that’s an attractive valuation, given the automaker’s impressive growth.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment (MLCO)
As I noted in a previous column, in March, Macau’s “gross gaming revenue soared a huge 247% year-over-year last month to $1.58 billion,” Macau is the Chinese region that permits gambling. “Two of Melco’s four main casinos” are located in the region, leaving it very well-positioned to get a big lift from Macau’s resurgence.
Moreover, “For all of Q1, Macau’s GGR jumped 95% year-over-year [and] Moody’s predicts that Macau’s ‘mass-segment GGR will return to about 75% of its 2019 level in 2023 and fully recover in 2024,'”The ratings agency also expects Melco’s (NASDAQ:MLCO) ” financial leverage will improve significantly over the next 2-3 years,” and it estimates that Melco will generate $700 million of EBITDA this year and $2.4 billion of EBITDA in 2024.
Also noteworthy is that one of Melco’s competitors, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), reported that its property EBITDA in Macau, excluding some items, had come in at an impressive $398 million. Meanwhile, LVS CEO Rob Goldstein stated that ” In Macao, following the relaxation of travel restrictions, increased visitation has driven gaming volumes, retail sales and hotel occupancy during the quarter. In other words, business is back.”
Even after the recent rally of MLCO stock, the shares are changing hands for just slightly over two times Moody’s 2024 EBITDA estimate for the company. Analysts, on average, expect the company’s earnings per share to come in at 5 cents this year before jumping to 46 cents in 2024.
Maxeon Solar (MAXN)
Like JinkoSolar, China-based Maxeon (NASDAQ:MAXN) is a large maker of solar panels. In a previous column, I noted that MAXN “is benefiting from the growth of solar energy and the large increases in demand for rooftop solar in the U.S. and Europe in particular amid rapidly rising electricity prices.”
Moreover, the company has a partnership with SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), a large company that focuses on deploying rooftop solar in the U.S. Consequently, the fact that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) recently reported that its solar panel revenue had jumped 40% year-over-year last quarter is very good news indeed for Maxeon and MAXN stock. That’s because Tesla’s solar business, like that of SunPower, is focused on deploying solar panels on U.S. houses.
Also noteworthy is that the Street currently seems to be quite enamored with MAXN stock, as its shares have soared 40% in the last three months and 92% in 2023.
Maxeon expects to have generated positive EBITDA for the first time in the first quarter and, despite its meteoric rise, the shares are still trading at a very low trailing price-sales ratio of 1.1.
As of the date of publication, Larry Ramer owned shares of JKS and MAXN. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.