It's been just a few years that I've held the stock... but it has already become the biggest winner for my premium High-Yield International advisory.
So far it's returned 455.2%... and I still hold the stock in my newsletter's portfolio.
So what has caused this stock -- Companhia de Bebidas Das Americas, better known as Ambev (NYSE: ABV) -- to become one of my portfolio's biggest winners?
First and foremost, plenty of the 450%-plus return comes from dividends. Since the stock was added to the portfolio, it's earned $3.23 per share in dividends -- about 39% of the original purchase price. But the vast majority of its gain has come from a rising share price.
The stock was first added to my portfolio at a split-adjusted $8.23 per share. Today, it trades at $43.17. Take a look...
The company's business couldn't be simpler -- it distributes beer and soda in Brazil and throughout South America. It's the fourth-largest beer producer in the world.
A business doesn't need to complex to make money for its investors. What's important is that a company dominates its market, is essential to day-to-day life, and that it continually rewards its shareholders with dividends or share buybacks.
I've already mentioned the company's dividends, which have increased 226% since 2007. And there's no doubt Ambev dominates its South American market. In Brazil alone, where it holds a 69% market share, Ambev's beer is sold in 1 million stores and restaurants. And I think everyone agrees that beer and soda are staples of modern life.
However, there are plenty of companies and stocks that meet these criteria... and that make great investments. But these stocks don't all gain nearly 500% in a matter of a few years. Ambev has seen such an amazing return thanks to its growth.
In the past five years, sales have grown 60% and profits have risen 257%. That's led to the surge in the share price. In addition to the more than 450% the stock has returned during the past few years, it's also up more than 1,600% in the past decade.
This growth comes from Ambev's focus on one of the world's fastest-growing regions. And time and time again, we're seeing the world's strongest growth stories come from international companies.
Put simply, the world's growth is in international markets. And today's investors must invest in foreign markets, or risk missing what I believe are the greatest investment opportunities on Earth.
The United States is unlike any other nation on the planet. It's the largest economy. It's home to some of the world's most innovative entrepreneurs. But the simple fact is that the headiest days of our growth are behind us. It's simply the law of large numbers.
In an economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of nearly $15 trillion, growing more than a few percent each year is a major undertaking.
Think back on what we've seen during the past few years. The U.S. government has spent trillions in an effort to stimulate the economy. The Federal Reserve has spent trillions more. Interest rates have been slashed to zero.
And yet, the U.S. economy grew a meager 2.8% in 2011. Not bad, but nowhere near the top of the list when it comes to GDP growth.
Qatar topped this list with 17.0% growth. Panama saw a 7.4% rise in GDP... South Korea, 4.5%... Poland, 3.8%... Chile, 5.9%... and Brazil has nearly doubled its GDP in the past five years.
And this it to say nothing of the generally higher yields found abroad. Brazil's average dividend yield is roughly 3.5% -- compared with about 2.0% here in the United States.
Action to Take -- > Don't get me wrong. Investing abroad isn't guaranteed to make you money. But if you're ignoring what can be found abroad, there's no doubt you're missing some of the world's best opportunities.
[Note: For more on international dividend-payers, I invite you to read my latest presentation, where I've also included names and ticker symbols of many high-yield international plays. I've even included a full list of the 17 U.S. companies yielding above 12%. Visit this link to learn about these stocks now.]