This post appeared earlier this week on RealMoney. Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day.When did we become so darned unimportant? When did we officially become an annex of Europe, where we trade with the worst of the worst, the lowest of the low: Greece, Spain, Portugal and the like? I think the answer is when we failed to create any jobs to speak of and became a suspect place in which to do business. I think we became this when our budget deficit became laughable and everyone knows that our balance sheet on any other country would send our interest rates soaring. I think we became this when it was clear that China tightening was more important than out loosening. That's the bad news. The good news is that with the sudden break in commodity inflation we have a chance to create some wealth in the companies that export overseas and are dependent on emerging growth. That's because emerging-growth countries will stop being forced to slam on the brakes, as they have for most of this year. Let's focus on three areas. The first is American companies with big businesses overseas. That's what brings me the autos, specifically General Motors ( GM). Here's a company that people got all excited about because of Chinese sales -- not American sales. But the company's IPO window coincided with the shutting of the cheap-money window in China. I expect that by September, after this oil intervention, China will no longer be actively trying to slow the economy down. That means GM can start selling many more cars. It is a huge swing factor and the base in the stock is showing you that's what's to come. Other companies, Cummins ( CMI), Caterpillar ( CAT), Joy Global ( JOYC) and Freeport ( FCX) can be winners. Heaven knows they've been crushed. But it is GM that I think does the best in this environment.
The second cohort is the companies that can supply energy into markets that repatriate dollars. I had thought that coal would begin to do better because of Japan's newfound and justifiable antipathy towards nuclear power. But the country is shell shocked it hasn't adjusted to the new world yet. That happens in the second half and a beaten-up company like Peabody ( BTU) will be the best way to play it. This post appeared earlier this week on RealMoney . Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day. The third area? If commodity inflation has peaked, as I think it has, you want to do something with apparel, which needs oil down for shoppers to do better and cotton to come down so the raw cost is much less. It has to be international in basis and not just domestic because our economy will still not be strong enough. My two favorites are Phillips-Van Heusen ( PVH) because of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein -- huge brands overseas that put through monster price hikes -- and Jones Group ( JNY), which just bought Kurt Geiger, a very important international brand that nobody seems to care about whatsoever. If you are going to sell luxury brands you have to sell them internationally and this U.K.-based footwear outfit fits the bill to make Jones more of an international player, the way VF ( VFC) and PVH have. Jones has been hobbled by rising raw costs, but now that they have peaked -- and the balance sheet is in terrific shape and it is in the doghouse -- you have what may turn out to be the best of all the second-half plays in the industry.