NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As the world watches and waits for the outcome of the U.S. government's ongoing tussle about expiring tax legislation ad nausea, some prescient investors are looking abroad for the other prizes and pay-days.We are cautiously optimistic about the U.S. economy for 2013 and hopeful that a last minute resolution of the fiscal fandango will surface between the cantankerous political factions before 2012 ends. In case something less than encouraging unfolds, it may be in our best investment interests to look overseas. Let me state now that I have a surprise for you at the end of this article. It's a kind of "holiday treat" worth watching and listening to, so keep reading. One of the strongest economies isn't one of the world's largest. In fact it is often forgotten because it's not regularly talked about in the mainstream media. Although by land mass it's one of the largest nations, by population it doesn't even rank in the top 20. Unlike the U.S. and Europe, Australia is booming! With immense natural resources and boatloads of foreign money waiting to be invested in Australian assets and companies, the immediate future still looks exceptionally bright. Take a look at the one-year chart of the iShares MSCI Australia Index ETF ( EWA). EWA has had an impressive run, but as you can see the volume has been steadily going down since September 2012. EWA data by YCharts
The ETF has a current dividend yield of 4.45%. Over 12% of the holdings of the fund are represented by the natural resources, mineral and energy conglomerate BHP Billiton ( BHP), which alone has a dividend payout that yields around 3% at a price of $76. The second-biggest holding in EWA is Commonwealth Bank of Australia, representing over 10% of the fund's assets. Commonwealth Bank trades on the Australian Securities Exchange. Most of the other holdings are headquartered in Australia except U.K.-based Rio Tinto Ltd ( RIO). >>Also see: Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.
Australia's future appears to be linked more to China's growth and economic policies than to any other nation. Before investing in Australia and its commercial enterprises, you might want to carefully examine the nation's official economic Web site. You'll learn all about its financial statistics, the country's approach to banking and money, and the Productivity Commission, which is the Australian Government's independent research and advisory body on a range of economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians. In a coming article I'll share with you another country that's planning on using its wealth and its sovereign-wealth fund (the worlds largest) to invest in American assets, so stay tuned. Here's the "treat" I promised you. It's the original title song "Before My Time" written and produced by J. Ralph. It was performed brilliantly by Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell for the Sundance award-winning documentary Chasing Ice which opened Nov. 9. The words and music are unforgettable and touches a very deep chord in all people during this special season of the year. At the time of publication the author held no positions in any of the funds or stocks mentioned. >>Also see: Make smarter trading decisions and provide investment ideas that could help make you richer. Bryan Ashenberg does the dirty work so you don't have to! This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.