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TheStreet Open House

8 Emerging-Market Stocks to Watch

5. Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) (PBR), an integrated oil and gas company, operates in five segments: exploration and production; refining, transportation and marketing; distribution; gas and power; and international. The company's international segment encompasses operations outside of Brazil.

Petrobras is the world's third-largest oil and natural gas company. Its proven oil reserves in 2010 increased 11% year over year to 14.2 billion barrels, the largest leap in eight years.

Similarly, proven natural gas reserves soared 15% to 423 billion cubic meters. The company, which carries on exploration and production at great depths, has formed alliances with foreign investors including China.

The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Sinochem for exploration and production of oil and gas in Brazil and other regions and for technological cooperation to increase oil recovery and the export of oil and other products. In addition, PBR is also negotiating a financing deal with China Development Bank to raising $12 billion to $18 billion for investment purposes.

Petrobras' strong financial standing makes it an attractive investment. The company's gross profit margin of 35.5% and its net profit margin of 15.3% compare favorably to the industry average. Additionally, the company's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38 is below the industry average.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 65% rate it a buy, while the remainder rate it a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg have an average price target of $46 for the next year, implying upside of 26.7% from current levels.

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