Consider These Investable Employers This Labor Day

I hope your Labor Day is off to a pleasant start and that it will be filled with sunshine, good food and memories you'll cherish once everyone returns to school and work.

In honor of the holiday that celebrates the U.S. labor movement, I have a question for you ...

Question: Who's the largest non-government employer in the world?

Answer: If you said Wal-Mart (WMT), you're pretty sharp, because it is the world's largest private employer with 2.2 million employees.

The list of the 15 largest employers in the world is interesting from an investor perspective, because big employers also produce huge revenues.

Gigantic revenues often mean gigantic profits. And out of those top 15, five had annual revenues of more than $100 billion and three of them had more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in revenue.

  • Wal-Mart Stores (WMT): 2.2 million employees
  • G4S plc is the world's largest security company and employs 618,000 people.
  • Randstad (RANJY) is a multinational human resource company and employs 596,000 people.
  • Volkswagen (VLKAY): 555,000 employees
  • PetroChina (PTR): 544,000 employees
  • Compass Group PLC (CMPGY) is a food service company that operates cafeterias at schools, office buildings, sporting events and even oil rigs. It employs 507,000 people.
  • Agricultural Bank of China (ACGBY): 479,000 employees
  • ISS A/S (ISS:Copenhagen) is a Danish company that provides outsourcing activities such as cleaning, catering, and security in more than 50 countries and employs 464,000 people.
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (IDCBY): 442,000 employees
  • McDonald's (MCD): 440,000 employees
  • Deutsche Post AG (DPSTF) is the former postal agency of the German government with 435,000 employees.
  • IBM Corp. (IBM): 431,000 employees
  • Gazprom (OGZPY) is the Russian natural gas giant that employs 429,000 people
  • Sodexo S.A. (SDXOF) provides food, cleaning, security, and maintenance services for private corporations, government agencies, schools, hospitals, military bases, and correctional facilities. It employs 428,000 employees.
  • Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings (YUEIY) is a shoemaking giant with 413,000 employees primarily in China.

What I think is particularly interesting is that three of the largest employers in the world are based in China …

And all three traded right here in the U.S. on the Over-The-Counter (OTC) market.

  • Agricultural Bank of China (ACGBY)
  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (IDCBY)
  • Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings (YUEIY)

One of the things that constantly surprises me is how provincial most American investors are and how woefully under-invested they are outside of the States.

I believe many are under the impression that investing in non-U.S. stocks is difficult or expensive ... but neither is true.

Thanks to the proliferation and sophistication of discount brokers, it is now as easy to trade foreign-listed stocks as American companies.

Adding Asia to Your Portfolio is Easy

The easiest way to add some Asian spice to your portfolio is with Exchange-Traded Funds: You could add an ETF like the PowerShares FTSE RAFI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Portfolio (PAF), which tracks the performance of the largest companies in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of foreign stocks that trade on the NYSE and Nasdaq, along with thousands of others trading on the U.S. OTC market.

Did you know that there are over 100 Chinese stocks trading right here in the U.S.?

For example, China Mobile (CHL), the largest mobile phone company in the world with almost 600 million users, trades on the NYSE.

You don't even need to open an overseas brokerage account!

Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, India and even emerging markets in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam all trade right here in the U.S.A.

For a full list, go to The Bank of New York ADR Directory at http://www.adrbnymellon.com/dr_directory.jsp

If you want to become more informed about Asian opportunities, here are five FREE Asian business news sites that I consider mandatory reading.

Tool #1:

Caijing (http://english.caijing.com.cn) is China's most influential business and economic magazine. It's packed with in-depth, big-picture economic stories about the Chinese economy.

Cajing posts one or two new stories each day and anybody who regularly reads these articles will soon know more about the Chinese economy than most of the so-called experts on Wall Street.

Tool #2:

The Standard (http://www.thestandard.com.hk): Beijing may be the capital of China, but Hong Kong is the finance center of Asia. The Standard is the main business newspaper for Hong Kong.

Its business section has the very best coverage of earnings news for both Hong Kong and mainland China companies. If you're interested in individual Chinese stocks, this is must-read material.

Tool #3:

Eastday-Shanghai News (http://english.eastday.com): Shanghai's history as the trading hub of China has transformed it into the economic center of mainland China.

Seldom a day goes by that I don't glean at least one piece of very profitable information from its business section. Best of all, this newspaper gives you the Chinese -- not western -- perspective on Chinese news.

After all, if you want to make money in Asia, you need to think like an Asian!

Tool #4:

The Straits Times (http://www.straitstimes.com): Singapore is to Asia as Switzerland is to the rest of the world. If you're an Asian zillionaire, Singapore is where you want to domicile your money because of its next-to-nothing taxation and iron-clad secrecy laws.

Plus, Singapore is the third most popular place for Chinese companies to list their stocks after Hong Kong and the U.S.

Tool #5:

FinanceAsia (http://www.financeasia.com) is more of an institutional level news website, but its best feature is the early notification of upcoming Asian initial public offerings (IPOs).

Investing in hot Asian IPOs, even if you can't get in on the initial allocation, has proven to be a very highly profitable strategy in the past. You have no chance of getting in on an IPO if you don't know about it! FinanceAsia is where you'll hear about them first.

For investors, I believe that information is a roadmap for profitable investing for the next several years!

Best wishes,
Tony Sagami


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Posted 09-12-2014 5:31 PM by Tony Sagami
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