Investment Opportunities in PIIGS

For the past few months the Greek debt crisis has been the focus of investors worldwide as the major European countries try to figure out a solution to solve the crisis. Due to politics and the integration of many countries under the common currency, the crisis does not appear to end very soon. In addition to Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain (collectively dubbed as PIIGS by traders) are also suffering from high deficits.

Despite the current chaos  in the European Union, some good investment choices can be found in these countries. An article in the latest edition of Bloomberg BusinessWeek lists a few stocks from PIIGS that are liked by fund managers.

The stocks listed in the article are noted below:

1. Portugal

Energias de Portgual (OTC: EDPFY)  is an electric and natural gas utility with strong presence in Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium. Its alternative energy subsidiary EDP Renovaveis has wind energy projects in the early stages in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The current dividend yield is 5.15%.

Portugal Telecom (PT)  offers telecom services  in Portugal, Brazil and a few countries in Africa. PT pays a dividend of 7.10%.

2. Ireland

The holding company DCC which has interests in food, energy and health care. DCC is not traded on the US markets.

3. Italy

Ansaldo Sts Spa (OTC: ASDOF)  is a builder of railways and subways. The company earns more than 50% of its revenues from outside of Italy and has a strong backlog of orders.

4. Greece

National Bank of Greece (NBG)  does not pay regular dividends. The stock has fallen heavily in recent months and closed at $3.95 today.The bank’s deposits exceeds loans.

5. Spain

The telecom giant Telefonica(TEF)  gets a significant portion of its revenues from Latin America. Telefonica’s current yield is 6.34%.

Banco Santander (STD) also gets more than 50% of its profits from outside the Euro zone. The stock pays a 5.26% dividend. Santander has large exposure in North and South America. In the US, it bought the Sovereign Bank during the credit crisis in 2008.

In another article titled The Pain in Spain falls Mainly on the Cajas, author Mark Scott notes that the main reason the Spanish banking giants Banco Santander (STD) and BBVA (BBV) remain strong despite the troubled economy is that bad real estate loans have hit mostly the the non-profit lending institutions known as Cajas. Hence investors need not totally avoid Santander and BBVA.

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