Stock-Market Value Hunting—and a Potential Post-Election Outcome

Value-oriented strategies had been out of favor for the past couple of years, but seem to have turned a corner in recent months. Tucker Scott, executive vice president and portfolio manager, Templeton Global Equity Group, shares where he and his value-oriented team are finding bargains around the world today—and offers an interesting take on an outcome from upcoming elections around the globe many investors may not be considering. He highlights energy, metals and emerging-market stocks—all of which have been good performers this year—as areas that he thinks still offer potential for investors today.

When looking at various countries or regions where we invest, we believe emerging markets represent a disproportionate share of bargains today after several years of underperformance relative to developed markets. We think South Korea, for example, probably represents the cheapest market of its size in the world. Samsung Electronics has had a good year so far, even considering its recent troubles with the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. The stock still trades at seven times earnings (ex-its cash), which is low, so we continue to think it is an undervalued, high-quality growth opportunity.1 South Korean banks also look very undervalued to us, and we don’t see any obvious risk factor that would justify their shares trading at such low levels. So we see potential there as well.

South Korea and Japan have much in common in terms of their export focus and the kinds of industries both nations excel at, but we think valuations in South Korea are far more attractive right now. Japan has been reaching what we consider to be a fair-value type of range, but we still don’t consider valuations there cheap enough yet to offer wholesale opportunity. We also see some macro issues within Japan’s economy that give us pause, along with corporate governance structure and measures of profitability.

Meanwhile, China has clearly been out of favor, but we think there are some really interesting opportunities there, mainly in the growth sectors. We are not interested in China’s banking sector, commodity-oriented companies or traditional state-owned enterprises. Instead, we are focusing on growth sectors that are trading with value multiples. Those areas include solar, Internet, health care, telecommunications and household goods.

European Banks: Still Some Bargains

Initially, there was a knee-jerk type of selloff across the European financials sector following the Brexit vote in June, but the sector has recovered since then. I think cooler heads have prevailed, and many of those stocks have moved back up over the course of the last two months.