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.
NEW YORK (
) -- In July, some soccer fans were surprised as star footballer Carlos Tevez debated departing the Premier League's club in Manchester, England, to take up a spot on the roster of a team based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Why would a top player even think of abandoning the bright lights of Europe's soccer scene for a second-tier market?
However, this is not a new trend. As the
reported a few weeks ago, soccer salaries in Brazil have been soaring as the pay scale in Europe has flatlined. Younger stars are sticking it out in South America before heading to the "big leagues" such as the Premiership or Spain's La Liga -- if they go at all. If this keeps up, Europe might become the second-tier market before long.
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Why should you care if, like me, you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who couldn't care less about soccer? Because this trend says a lot about Brazil, its middle class and the region's economy in general. A booming middle class has money to burn on TVs, cell phones, expensive foods -- and yes, even soccer tickets. The result is big growth in just about every corner of Brazil's economy.
So how can you get in on this boom? Here are three big reasons to bank on Brazil, and stocks to watch that are sharing in the nation's success:
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Domestic superpowers are rapidly investing in Brazil.
(GE - Get Report)
CEO Jeffrey Immelt said recently in Rio: "We see exciting growth in Brazil of more than 30% this year in energy, infrastructure, transport and health care." The multinational conglomerate has its fingers in a lot of areas that are booming in Latin America, and Brazil is a big player in this international growth. General Electric is investing $570 million in Brazil in the 2010-2013 period to expand its health care equipment, locomotives, turbines, wind-power equipment and other industrial areas.
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Earlier in the year,
(WMT - Get Report)
announced plans to invest almost $760 million in Brazil this year to open 80 stores. These companies are spending money with the hopes of making even more money.
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You'll never make a fortune running with the herd on Wall Street, but it's certainly worth your while to know where the herd is headed before you decide to change course. And the bottom line is that Brazil, above all other emerging markets, is a favorite among investors.
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