With doubts surrounding Chinese growth prospects having been a major feature of the FTSE 100‘s recent performance, the geographical exposure of companies has come more sharply into focus. Certainly, having an exposure to emerging markets and, particularly, China, has been seen as a major positive in the past. However, with the US and UK economies performing much better than their European counterparts and potentially offering greater stability than their emerging market peers, stocks that have significant exposure to those two markets could be strong performers in the medium to long term.
One consumer stock that is dominated by its exposure to the UK is Sports Direct (LSE: SPD). It has been a major success story of recent years, with a struggling UK economy forcing shoppers to focus more than ever on the price of their purchases. And, with its sound business model of being highly competitive on branded goods and being able to successfully cross-sell own-brand, high margin goods to customers, Sports Direct has posted a rise in its earnings of 25% per annum during the last five years.
Looking ahead, Sports Direct is expected to deliver an increase in its earnings of 11% this year, followed by 15% next year. As a result, it trades on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.1, which indicates that now is a great time to buy a slice of the business. That’s especially the case since shoppers continue to seek out discounted products even though their wages are now rising faster than inflation.
Meanwhile, Diageo (LSE: DGE) has considerable exposure to another economy that is performing well: the US. Certainly, it has increased its exposure to China in recent years, but it remains a truly global beverages company that should offer stability as well as upbeat growth performance as a number of its major markets pick up their growth pace.
Furthermore, Diageo continues to have a portfolio of brands that has huge appeal. Unlike a number of its sector peers, it does not focus on one drinks category, and so is a lower risk option. In other words, if sales of one beverage, for example vodka, were to decline then Diageo has vast exposure to whisky, rum, stout, tequila and other alcoholic beverages through which to pick up the slack. Therefore, as well as global diversity, Diageo has product diversity and, together, they make it a relatively low risk option.
Of course, exposure to the emerging world is no bad thing. Chinese growth rates may not be as high as they were a few years ago but, with growth of over 7% per annum, they remain very strong. As such, the likes of fashion designer Ted Baker (LSE: TED) and car dealer Inchcape (LSE: INCH) remain very enticing.
In recent years, both companies have increased their exposure to the emerging world and, looking ahead, are expected to reap the rewards. For example, Ted Baker is forecast to grow its earnings by 19% in the current year and by 16% next year. And, despite its shares having risen by 36% since the turn of the year, they still offer excellent value for money; as evidenced by a PEG ratio of only 1.7. Furthermore, with a strong balance sheet and well-respected brand, Ted Baker appears to have limited downside, too.
Similarly, Inchcape is due to post upbeat earnings numbers over the next couple of years. Its net profit is expected to rise by 9% next year, which puts it on a PEG ratio of 1.4. Certainly, China is an important market for Inchcape and for the wider automotive industry, with a rising number of middle class individuals there seeking out premium car ownership. And, while doubts may remain in the short run surrounding the Chinese growth story, the fact is that it remains a fast-growing market for consumer goods and, as such, Inchcape remains well-placed to continue the 12% per annum growth rate that it has posted in the last four years.
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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Sports Direct International. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.