WSJ: Investors See Value in Foreign Dividend Stocks

Tuesday, 07 Aug 2012 11:52 AM

By Dan Weil

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With interest rates near zero, the race is on to purchase dividend stocks, and now that race has extended overseas.

Assets in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest mainly or partly in foreign dividend stocks have almost doubled to $12.1 billion since the end of 2009, according to Lipper research, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Investors are excited by the fact that foreign dividend stocks generally generate higher yields than do their U.S. counterparts and that the valuations of the foreign stocks are generally lower, according to The Journal.

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

European stocks now carry a modest price-to-earnings ratio of about 12 and an average dividend yield of 4.7 percent, or twice the yield of U.S. companies, Judy Saryan, a portfolio manager at Eaton Vance, tells The Journal.

"I actually think there is a lot of value right now in European stocks, and I like conservative, dividend-paying companies," Lew Altfest, CEO of Altfest Personal Wealth Management.

To be sure, there is risk overseas. European stocks have low prices because many European economies are in recession and the continent faces a financial crisis. It is largely those low prices that have pushed up yields.

Still, many of the companies that pay dividends are blue chips that will weather the storm.

Michael Molinski of MarketWatch wrote that investors should consider investing in dividend stocks in Latin America as a safer way to approach that market. He cited Brazilian electric utilities as an example.

Editor's Note: See the Disturbing Charts: 50% Unemployment, 90% Stock Market Crash, 100% Inflation

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