BRIC Stocks: Has a Decade of BRIC Growth Peaked?

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

The largest emerging markets have seen $15 billion of outflows this year -- the largest since 1996 -- as the MSCI BRIC Index fell 24%. Some analysts predict worse will come.

Together, the stock markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China have more than quadrupled gains in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in the last decade and their economies grew four times faster than America, reports Bloomberg. "Now Goldman Sachs Group (GS), which coined the term BRIC, says the best is over for the largest emerging markets."

Why the gloomy outlook? According to Bloomberg "slowing exports to Europe and government restrictions on real-estate investment are curbing the expansion in China, the biggest emerging economy." India's growth has been constrained by "the fastest interest rate increases since 1935 ... which fueled inflation and deterred foreign investment."

Bloomberg adds, "Brazil and Russia, whose growth during the past decade was spurred by surging commodity demand, have been hurt by falling metals prices and the slowdown in China."

Going forward
Analysts are wrapped in debate over the future of BRIC economies.

According to Arjuna Mahendran, head of Asia investment strategy at HSBC Private Bank, BRIC indexes may fall another 20% next year, buffeted by the liquidity squeeze stemming from Europe's sovereign debt crisis. He tells Bloomberg that nations such as Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey may overshadow the BRICs in the next five years as they expand from lower levels of growth.

James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis, told Bloomberg that emerging-market stocks will probably outperform U.S. equities next year as central banks in developing countries cut interest rates to stimulate economic growth. As evidence, "the MSCI emerging-markets gauge rose an average 35 percent after the BRIC nations began cutting interest rates in 2003, 2005 and 2008."

Ok Hye Eun, a Seoul-based fund manager at Woori Asset Management Co., disagrees. He tells Bloomberg that "BRIC markets won't be an attractive destination for a while because there are still ongoing risks. I see more opportunities in the U.S."

September estimates from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest average economic growth in BRIC nations will slow to 6.1% from a 9.7% high in 2007.

Investing ideas
So, we're wondering, are there any BRIC stocks being targeted by bearish investors?

For ideas, we collected data on short-seller trends and identified a list of BRIC stocks that have seen a sharp increase in shares shorted over the last month (i.e. an increase in bets that these stocks will decline).

This is significant, especially when you consider that short-sellers tend to be more sophisticated investors (due to the fact that they require strict credit approval to perform these trades). So if these investors are turning bearish on a stock, it's worth paying close attention.

To further refine the quality of our list, we collected data on institutional money flows, and identified five BRIC stocks that have seen significant institutional selling during the current quarter.

Big money managers have extensive resources to analyze investing ideas. So if they're dumping a certain stock, it's worth paying close attention.

Sophisticated investors, like hedge fund managers and short-sellers, think these BRIC stocks are in trouble -- do you agree? Or is this excessive pessimism a contrarian buy signal?

Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. LDK Solar (NYS: LDK) : Engages in the design, development, manufacture, and marketing of photovoltaic (PV) products and the development of power plant projects. Incorporated in China. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -4.0M shares, which represents about 6.34% of the company's float of 63.05M shares. Shares shorted have increased from 31.55M to 32.27M over the last month, an increase which represents about 1.14% of the company's float of 63.05M shares.

2. Perfect World (NAS: PWRD) : Engages in the research, development, operation, and licensing of online games primarily in the People's Republic of China, the United States, and the rest of Asia. Incorporated in China. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.6M shares, which represents about 4.69% of the company's float of 34.12M shares. Shares shorted have increased from 706.05K to 1.22M over the last month, an increase which represents about 1.51% of the company's float of 34.12M shares.

3. Spreadtrum Communications (NAS: SPRD) : Operates as a fabless semiconductor company that designs, develops, and markets baseband processor and RF transceiver solutions for wireless communications and mobile television markets. Incorporated in China. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.7M shares, which represents about 4.75% of the company's float of 35.81M shares. Shares shorted have increased from 1.96M to 2.69M over the last month, an increase which represents about 2.04% of the company's float of 35.81M shares.

4. Trina Solar (NYS: TSL) : Designs, develops, manufactures, and sells photovoltaic (PV) modules worldwide. Incorporated in China. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -2.1M shares, which represents about 3.54% of the company's float of 59.34M shares. Shares shorted have increased from 20.10M to 21.12M over the last month, an increase which represents about 1.72% of the company's float of 59.34M shares.

5. VanceInfo Technologies (NYS: VIT) : Engages in the provision of information technology (IT) services. Incorporated in China. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -3.7M shares, which represents about 17.59% of the company's float of 21.04M shares. Shares shorted have increased from 9.75M to 11.45M over the last month, an increase which represents about 8.08% of the company's float of 21.04M shares.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA.


 Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Rebecca Lipman do not own any of the shares mentioned above. Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, short data sourced from Yahoo! Finance.

At the time this article was published Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Read Full Story

Want more news like this?

Sign up for Finance Report by AOL and get everything from business news to personal finance tips delivered directly to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners