NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Emerging markets have underperformed this year relative to fundamentals and on rising risk aversion. However, attractive valuations and recent selloffs could offer higher returns during the second half of 2010.The Shanghai Composite Index has been the worst performer among the major emerging markets, declining around 26% year to date on concerns of government measures to slowdown the economy and the European debt crisis. The current price-to-earnings ratio of 14.9 is the lowest since early 2009 and enhances buying opportunities. Rapid urbanization in China could boost domestic demand and increase the valuations of construction companies. China Housing & Land Development ( CHLN) and Xinyuan Real Estate ( XIN - Get Report) are currently trading at attractive P/E multiples of 4.3 and 3.7, respectively. India's BSE Index, trading at 17.1 times estimated profit, is the most expensive among the emerging market indices. In addition, the worsening short-term inflation rate following fuel price deregulation will likely trigger interest rate hikes, weighing heavily on the stock market. However, some fund managers expect that the Indian stock market may attract more foreign investments during the second half due to the country's economic growth story and declining fiscal deficit. A probable rate hike by India's central bank will benefit ICICI Bank ( IBN) and HDFC Bank ( HDB - Get Report), which may provide attractive returns during the second half. Tata Motors ( TTM) will likely benefit from the robust demand for cars. U.S.-listed Indian IT majors Infosys Technologies ( INFY - Get Report), Wipro ( WIT - Get Report) and Cognizant Technology Solutions ( CTSH - Get Report) are currently trading at price-to-earnings multiples of 24.5, 30.8, and 24.1, respectively, in comparison to Patni Computer's ( PTI) 13.1 and iGate's ( IGTE) 18.4. Russia's MICEX Index has an attractive P/E ratio of 7.3. Although the index remained relatively flat, it is among the biggest gainers during the past year. Russia, with a debt-to-gross domestic product ratio of less than 7%, has the potential to show resilience to the current global economic environment. Early this month, the International Monetary Fund raised its 2010 growth forecast for Russia to 4.25% from 4% on increased domestic consumption. In comparison, the risk factor for Eastern Europe markets will likely remain high over other emerging markets due the slowdown in the European economy.
The Brazilian economy grew the fastest during the first quarter, in recent years. The Brazil Bovespa Index, which declined 6.4% year to date, gained momentum boosted by the country's infrastructure plans and the mining resources the country holds. Several undervalued Brazilian stocks may gain momentum during the second half of the year. U.S. listed Brasil Telecom ( BTM), Tele Norte Leste ( TNE), Companhia de Saneamento Basico ( SBS), Vale ( VALE), and Petrobras ( PBR) are currently trading at attractive P/E ratios of 5.2, 6.0, 8.2, 8.2, and 9.1, respectively. Chile's IPSA Index gained 15.1%, the most year to date. Mexico's IPC Index gained close to 1.4%, while Argentina's Marvel Index declined around 1.2%. In the Middle East, Dubai's DFM General Index shed around 17.4% year to date and offers an attractive P/E multiple of 5.5. In comparison, Saudi Arabia's Tadawul Index gained 2.9%.