For 25 years, Steven Halpern, editor of TheStockAdvisors.com, has surveyed the leading financial newsletter advisors asking for their favorite stocks for the coming year. This article is one of 100+ ideas in the Best Stocks for 2008 report.
"My favorite conservative idea for 2008 is Templeton Emerging Markets Fund (NYSE: EMF), a closed-end fund that holds the vast majority of its stocks in emerging market economies," says Carla Pasternak, editor of High Yield Investing.
"About a third of its stock holdings are in Brazil and China, two of the countries popularly known as the 'BRIC' economies (the other two are Russia and India). Led by one of the legends of emerging market investing,
Mark Mobius, EMF also goes off the beaten track to find stocks in Turkey, South Korea and Thailand.
"About a third of the portfolio stocks are in the energy sector, with another 20% in the industrials materials group such as iron ore. With energy prices and industrial commodities soaring this past year, EMF has been in the right
place at the right time.
"The same can be said of the entire emerging market sector. And since the world stock market bottom in mid-August, emerging market funds have been hot, hot, hot. These funds attracted $23 billion in capital in all of 2006, but since the last week of August have drawn more than $24 billion.
"Short term, the sage advice of Peter Lynch may ring in your ears -- Beware the hottest stock in the hottest sector.
Still, EMF shares haven't kept up with the asset growth of the fund's portfolio holdings, and the fund is trading today at an attractive discount of 10% to its net worth.
"In other words, you can scoop up a dollar's worth of stock for just 90 cents. Long-term investors willing to withstand a possible short-term pullback in the fund may want to invest at this time."