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10 Latin American Stocks Soaring Up to 30% in 2012 (Update2)

10. Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR)

Company profile: Petrobras is a Brazil-based integrated energy company controlled by the Brazilian government that focuses on the exploration and production for oil and gas in Brazilian offshore fields.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 15% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 7%, but over the past five years, returns have been highly volatile. The shares carry a 0.56% dividend yield.

Net income has grown at a 33% annual rate over the past three years. S&P has its shares rated "hold," and in a survey, found nine "buy" ratings, four "buy/holds," and six "holds." Morningstar analysts say "With the recent discovery of vast oil and gas resources offshore Brazil, Petrobras appears to have a bright future," but note that recent poor earnings results underscore its volatility.

9. National Electricity Company of Chile ( EOC)

Company profile: The company generates electricity for customers in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru from its hydroelectric plants and thermal units.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 15% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 12% and its shares have a 0.98% dividend yield. S&P found two "buy" ratings, two "buy/holds," three "holds," and one "weak/hold," in a survey of analysts. Those same analysts expect 2012 earnings will grow by 12% to $3.57 per share.

8. Itau Unibanco Holding SA (ITUB)

Company profile: Itau Unibanco Holding SA Itau Unibanco is Latin America's largest nongovernment bank.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 16% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 32%. S&P found five "buy" ratings, five "buy/holds," and three "holds," in a survey of analysts. Net income has grown at a 33% rate annually over the past three years and its shares carry a 0.49% dividend yield.

A Morningstar analyst said that "Itau Unibanco is poised to profitably expand in Brazil and Latin America as one of the predominant players in the market," although it's subject to the volatility of the region, which can be particularly negative for bankers if inflation picks up.

7. Brazilian Distribution (CBD)

Company profile: Brazilian Distribution is a leading grocery-store chain with more than 600 stores and more than a 13% share of the food retailing market, and it caters to all income levels. It also owns consumer electronics and home appliance stores.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 20% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 50%, and carry a 0.38% dividend yield. S&P's analyst survey found two "buy" ratings, three "buy/holds," two "holds," and one "weak/hold." Those same analysts' consensus estimate is that earnings will grow by 32% this year to $2.08 per share.

6. Ultrapar Holdings ( UGP)

Company profile: Ultrapar, of Brazil, is a diversified industrial company as a distributor of liquefied petroleum gas, a provider of storage services for chemical and fuel companies and as a producer of a variety of commodity and specialty chemicals. Its controls 23% of retail fuel distribution in Brazil.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 20% this year and have a three-year annualized return of 52% and its shares carry a 2.85% dividend yield. Analysts' consensus is for earnings growth of 20% this year to $1.09 per share. Per S&P, analysts give its shares three "buy" ratings, one "buy/hold," and two "holds."

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