4 High-Yield Emerging-Market Stocks

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 ( StreetAuthority) -- 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.

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1. Telecom Argentina (TEO)

Forward yield: 9%

Telecom Argentina is the leading provider of telecom services to northern Argentina, including the capital of Buenos Aires. The company serves about 4.4 million fixed lines, 1.3 million Internet subscribers and 16.3 million cellular subscribers. Additionally, through a controlled subsidiary, Telecom Argentina offers cellular services in Paraguay.

Telecom Argentina reported a 29% increase in 2010 net profit to $443 million and a 53% increase in first-quarter 2011 profits, which was well above analyst estimates. The company's earnings benefit from brisk growth in Latin America's third-largest economy, which is fueling increased demand for mobile phone and broadband services.

In the next three years, Telecom Argentina plans to invest $2.3 billion in network expansion and upgrades. The company generated $865 million of cash flow last year and has a solid balance sheet, with cash of $336 million and only $39 million of long-term debt. Dividend payout is conservative at only 39%, and the forward annualized $2.21 dividend offers a hefty 9.4% yield. These shares also appear reasonably priced at only 8.5 times this year's estimated earnings.

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2. Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CIG)

Yield: 6%

Brazil is one of the few countries in the world that is self-sufficient in oil, a leader in alternative energy and a major producer of commodities such as iron ore. The country offers particularly attractive investments in its commodities and infrastructure sectors.

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CEMIG) is one of Brazil's largest integrated electric utilities, with more than 6,896 megawatts of installed generation capacity. The company gets about 97% of its electricity from hydroelectric power. CEMIG is well-positioned to benefit from Brazil's increasing demand for electricity -- sales improved 9.0% in 2010 to 66,255 gigawatt-hours as a result of higher demand across all consumer categories.

CEMIG recently announced plans to participate in the construction of a gas pipeline connecting Sao Paulo and Uberaba. The pipeline will primarily serve an ammonia plant being built by Petrobras ( PBR), the Brazilian oil giant. CEMIG distributes natural gas through a subsidiary, which serves the majority of Minas Gerais state.

CEMIG reported encouraging 2010 results with net income improving 6% year-over-year to $1.3 billion and 1.6% growth in total installed capacity. Cash flow improved 35% year-over-year to $2 billion and capital spending rose 15% to $1.5 billion. Management plans to spend about $1.3 billion on facility expansion and upgrades in 2011.

CEMIG has $1.8 billion in cash and pays a $1.10 dividend, which currently yields 5.7%. Debt is modest at about one-third of equity, and shares are affordable, trading at only 8.8 times projected 2011 earnings.

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3. Huaneng Power International (HNP)

Yield: 5%

Huaneng Power International builds and operates power plants in China. The company benefits from China's nearly insatiable appetite for energy. Huaneng currently operates 175 power plants across 18 Chinese provinces and is one of the country's main power producers, with controlled generation capacity of 54,402 Megawatts.

Huaneng's operating revenue improved 25% year-over-year in the first-quarter of 2011. Power generation in China increased 29%. In early April, Huaneng raised its power tariff in 11 Chinese provinces, which should boost revenue. The company also plans to boost clean energy generation to 25% of total installed capacity in the next five years, which will limit exposure to rising coal prices.

Huangeng's $1.22 annualized dividend represents a payout of less than 15% of cash flow. At the recent $23 price, shares yield about 5.2%. Also important, Huaneng shares trade below book value and at a multiple of only 5.8 times last year's cash flow, which is well below the S&P's multiple of 9.3.

StreetAuthority's Tim Begany recently projected a long-term upside of 100% or more for Huangeng. To read his article, click here.

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4. YPF Sociedad Anonima (YPF)

Forward Yield: 8%

YPF operates about 70 oil and gas fields in Argentina as well as three refineries, including nearly 2,700 kilometers (about 1,677 miles) of pipeline and 640,000 barrels of aggregate daily transportation capacity. YPF has about 538 million barrels of oil reserves and 2,672 billion cubic feet of gas reserves. Refined product is sold through a retail network of more than 1,632 YPF-branded service stations.

YPF's operating profits improved 30% in 2010 to $2.4 billion. Analysts expect the company to deliver at least 10% earnings growth a year during the next five years.While YPF's dividends have declined from pre-recession highs, rising oil prices improve the company's outlook. YPF pays a $3.18 annualized dividend and currently yields 7.7%. Payout from cash flow is conservative at just 35%.

YPF's shares currently trade nearly 40% below their 2005 peak price. YPF shares are valued at 10.4 times this year's earnings, which is less than the 13.5 multiple of the S&P 500.

Action to Take: My top pick for aggressive portfolios is Telecom Argentina. The shares appear reasonably priced and offer a hefty 9% yield. For more conservative investors, I like Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais, which offers the superior safety of a utility and an attractive 6% dividend.

This article originally appeared on StreetAuthority. To read more articles from Lisa Springer on StreetAuthority, you can visit this link.

Disclosure: Lisa Springer and/or StreetAuthority, LLC hold a position in PBR, TEO, CIG, HNP and YPF.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.

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