Company profile: HDFC Bank, one of India's largest non-government-owned banks, has profitably grown throughout the past decade along with India's economy.Investor takeaway: HDFC Bank's shares are up 35% this year, including 25% in the past month. Morningstar says: "We think HDFC Bank still has ample room for long-term expansion and shareholder value creation as it benefits from India's economic development." It gets two "buys," and one "hold" ratings from analysts, says S&P, which does not have it rated.
1. Tata Motors (TTM) Company profile: Tata Motors is India's largest auto manufacturer and it also makes commercial trucks and buses, and luxury vehicles, including the Jaguar and Land Rover. The company supplies most of Asia. It also makes the world's cheapest and smallest car, the Nano. Tata Motors has automotive operations in the U.K., Spain, South Korea, South Africa and Thailand. In 2011, it sold more than 1 million vehicles. Investor takeaway: Up 64% this year, the stock has a three-year average annual return of 93%. It is the beneficiary of growing middle-class wealth in many emerging market countries as it covers the spectrum of car types, from the cheapest to some of the most expensive. But it could be hurt if gas prices jump as that could leave many potential new car buyers on the sidelines. Tata Motors reported last week that its total vehicle sales rose 21% in January from last year, to almost 120,000, led by a 49% increase in Jaguar sales and a 43% rise in Land Rover sales. Total auto sales grew 26% over last year, while trucks and buses sales rose 15%. On Feb. 14, S&P lowered its rating to "hold" from "buy," citing higher commodity prices pressuring margins and higher interest rates deterring buyers. Nevertheless, S&P raised its price target to $32, which is about a 14% premium to its current price.