The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
By Lisa Springer
NEW YORK (
) -- Turmoil in Libya and other places in the Middle East have caused capital to flow out of equity markets and into traditional safe havens such as gold and silver. Surprisingly, one of the equity sectors that was least affected by the shift was emerging markets, which experienced a 50% rise in net capital flows last year. The sector is expected to see an even greater increase this year, with net annual investment projected to swell to $1 trillion by 2012, according to the Institute of International Finance.
Economists credit the global financial crisis with dramatically altering the perception of emerging markets, which were once considered too risky by most investors. This has changed because investors see most of the world's economic growth coming from emerging markets, where yields are higher. In fact, some global investors now regard emerging markets as a safer place to invest than advanced economies, which are still recovering from the global recession.
Catastrophes that once would have sent the dollar climbing and investors running back to the United States are now having the opposite effect. For example, during a four-week period beginning in March that saw the Japanese earthquake, a NATO military intervention in Libya, a potential shutdown of the U.S. government and Portugal's bailout, emerging market equities rose 9%.
Most economists think emerging markets such as Brazil, Argentina, Russia, India and China will likely enjoy years, if not decades, of tremendous growth when compared with the developed countries.
Here are four stocks benefitting from emerging-market growth that offer especially attractive yields for income-oriented investors.