The Ten Worst Countries to Invest In

After looking at some of will have a better journey elsewhere.

10. Croatia
With its long, beautiful coastline down the Adriatic Sea, tourism accounts for about 20% of the country’s GDP. The slowdown in that industry explains a big portion of Croatia’s problems. Additionally, hostility toward foreign investment — on top of the slowing economy — has stopped incoming capital by -60% in first-quarter 2009 versus year-ago figures.

P/E Rank: 8
Dividend Yield Rank: 29
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 36
Volatility Rank: 44
Inflation Rank: 25

9. Mexico
Mexico’s puny dividend yield of 1.5% and its negative growth are bad signs. Swine flu fears now seem to have been overblown, but they certainly didn’t help Mexico’s GDP. More serious, however, is the country’s endemic drug war, which scares away U.S. tourists and costs billions to wage.

P/E Rank: 27
Dividend Yield Rank: 40
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 35
Volatility Rank: 18
Inflation Rank: 24

8. Indonesia

One of only two countries on the list that are forecast to see economic growth, Indonesia is a country of more than 230 million people on some 17,500 islands. Expectations of growth have pushed Indonesia’s P/E to nearly 30. Inflation is high, about 20%, and the country’s dividend yield is below 3%. The prospects there are nothing to write home about.

P/E Rank: 42
Dividend Yield Rank: 36
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 4
Volatility Rank: 33
Inflation Rank: 33

7. Russia
The largest economy in this list, Russia’s Cinderella story seems to have ended — without the “happily ever after” part. Today, Russia is seeing flat growth, huge volatility and inflation in the mid-teens. But Russia’s most serious long-term problem is its shrinking population. Although the rate of decline has dropped in recent years, hard times may kick it right back up.

P/E Rank: 6
Dividend Yield Rank: 37
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 26
Volatility Rank: 46
Inflation Rank: 35

6. Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is an extra-credit question on a junior high geography exam: It’s the largest landlocked country in the world. This former Soviet republic hasn’t been a hotbed for foreign investment in recent memory. Its dividend yield of 0.8% makes it the worst place in the world for those seeking income. Inflation is approaching 20%, and growth is flat.

P/E Rank: 5
Dividend Yield Rank: 46
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 18
Volatility Rank: 41
Inflation Rank: 41

5. South Korea
Its neighbor to north isn’t South Korea’s only problem — and perhaps not its most serious. Negative growth of -10% is expected in 2009, followed by a flat 2010. The country’s yield is just over 1%, and with a P/E pushing 20, stocks here look very expensive.

P/E Rank: 33
Dividend Yield Rank: 43
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 44
Volatility Rank: 12
Inflation Rank: 19

4. Ukraine
The only reason this former Soviet republic of 46 million doesn’t rank at the bottom of the list is that no one will touch it, That drives its P/E down to 2.7. Inflation tops 25%, growth this year is expected to fall by -10%, and dividends are small, infrequent and unreliable.

P/E Rank: 3
Dividend Yield Rank: 41
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 43
Volatility Rank: 21
Inflation Rank: 45

3. Slovakia
The sister country of top-ranking Czech Republic, Slovakia’s numbers tell a different story. The country has negative growth, non-existent dividend yields and high volatility. Inflation is relatively low, but that’s likely due to its adoption of the euro at the beginning of the year.

P/E Rank: 21
Dividend Yield Rank: 45
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 39
Volatility Rank: 35
ebt045 Rank: 17

2. Argentina
Argentina ranks the lowest of any of the major G-20 economies due largely to its 22% inflation rate. Unlike several countries on this list, inflation in this $330 billion economy is not accompanied by significant growth; growth in 2010 is expected to be just 1.5%. Plus the country is likely to default on its debt, again.

P/E Rank: 9
Dividend Yield Rank: 39
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 30
Volatility Rank: 39
Inflation Rank: 43

1. Vietnam

The only ray of light in Vietnam these days is that the country is expected to grow by 4% in 2010. This probably explains the relatively high P/E. Still, with a yields of about 2% and inflation approaching 25%, beware.

P/E Rank: 34
Dividend Yield Rank: 38
Est. 2009/2010 Growth Rank: 8
Volatility Rank: 43
Inflation Rank: 44