Beyond US tech stocks: three global stars to buy now

There is much to like about the US tech giants, says professional investor Alec Cutler of Orbis Investments highlights. But there are many other excellent businesses out there trading at much more attractive valuations. Here are three of his favourites.

Stockmarket indices can be a poor reflection of reality. Mega-cap technology stocks in the US have had an overwhelming impact on returns, but this obscures the fact that the average global stock has only recently recovered from a hidden bear market dating back to early 2018. 

While there is much to like about the US tech giants – deep “moats” (entrenched competitive advantages that fend off potential rivals), high returns on capital, piles of cash and appealing long-term growth potential – there are excellent businesses out there trading at much more attractive valuations. Great investment ideas come in many different shapes and sizes and it always pays to cast a wide net.

A top Taiwanese chip maker

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (Taipei: 2330) has many of the same attractive fundamentals as its US peers. TSMC is more dominant in chip manufacturing than its largest customer, Apple, is in smartphones, yet it trades at a substantial discount to its American client. As the world’s dominant manufacturer of logic semiconductors, TSMC stands to benefit from powerful long-term tailwinds in artificial intelligence (AI), cloud-computing and 5G-wireless broadband. 

None of these technologies will be possible without leading-edge semiconductors and TSMC is one of only two remaining players who can make them. We believe TSMC can continue to grow its earnings at around 15% per annum over the long term while maintaining its very high returns on equity (a key gauge of profitability). 

A leading US health insurer

Having a new resident in the White House almost always leads to fresh debate about the future of the US healthcare system. Historically this has been a source of opportunity for investors. Leading US health insurers such as Anthem (NYSE: ANTM) have rarely traded at demanding valuations, despite delivering superior fundamentals. 

Since 2000, Anthem has delivered earnings-per-share growth of 16% a year compared with 6% for the S&P 500 index. The combined tailwinds of an ageing population, rising incomes and expansion of health coverage to more people should continue to fuel above-average profit growth. There will no doubt be considerable volatility and heated political rhetoric, but history has shown that changes in the US healthcare sector have been gradual rather than revolutionary, and the likes of Anthem are an important part of the system.

Luxury car group roars ahead

BMW (Frankfurt: BMW) is one of the world’s highest-quality car manufacturers. Of the 1,600 companies in the FTSE World Index ex-US in 1990, fewer than 80 have delivered earnings-per-share growth of more than 10% per annum since then, and BMW is one of them. It has generated a return on equity of 15% over the long term and has compounded earnings at a rate well above most businesses in any sector for several decades. 

It is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the family-controlled company’s discipline, culture and premium brand value. The pandemic has been a setback in the short term and BMW will also need to adjust to a future where electric vehicles are more common, but we are confident that the group has the expertise and financial strength to navigate these headwinds successfully over the long term. 

Recommended

Stockmarkets have a spring in their step
Stockmarkets

Stockmarkets have a spring in their step

Global stockmarkets have been basking in the post-Covid economic recovery as GDP, retail sales and manufacturing are all on the way back up.
23 Apr 2021
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
19 Feb 2021
Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence
Stockmarkets

Stockmarkets shrug off turbulence

Stockmarkets have hit their first bout of turbulence of the year, but most are clinging onto January’s gains.
4 Feb 2021
Seven firms ripe for a shake-up by activist investors
Stockmarkets

Seven firms ripe for a shake-up by activist investors

Activist investors have a reputation as asset strippers, but they perform a valuable role, says Matthew Lynn
16 May 2021

Most Popular

How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?
Bitcoin & crypto

How will Joe Biden’s capital gains tax rise affect crypto prices?

The US president wants to increase capital gains tax – and that’s going to hit a lot of American cryptocurrency speculators. Saloni Sardana looks at h…
14 May 2021
Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting
Inheritance tax

Inheritance tax planning: the rules around gifting

There are plenty of legal ways to minimise an inheritance tax bill. Perhaps the simplest is to give away assets to reduce the size of your estate. Dav…
11 May 2021
Are we nearing the end of the negative bond yield era?
Government bonds

Are we nearing the end of the negative bond yield era?

As inflation gets going, the era of the negative bond yield – that investors have to pay governments for the privilege of lending them money – might b…
14 May 2021