A Trio of Overseas Names to Watch

 | Apr 20, 2012 | 3:45 PM EDT
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Large, U.S.-based companies have set the pace for the market so far in 2012, but a few overseas-based names are asserting themselves.

Growth stalwart Baidu (BIDU) has been consolidating below its all-time high of $165.96, reached in July. It remains a solid watch-list candidate, and is certainly a prominent, institutional-quality name. However, there are some other non-U.S. names showing better price strength right now.

One name that's snuck onto my scans with little fanfare is Hong Kong-based Melco Crown Entertainment (MPEL), which operates casinos in Macau. The stock went public on the Nasdaq in 2006, but in terms of price leadership, it hasn't made much of a splash -- until recently.

Melco Crown has shown a price gain of 54% in the past six months, topping fellow Macau casino operator Las Vegas Sands (LVS), which has advanced 35% in that time. Year-to-date, Melco Crown is up 61%, and Las Vegas Sands 36%.

Melco Crown has a market cap of $8.29 billion and it trades 6.7 million shares a day. It only recently came to my attention because the earnings performance has been improving. After showing losses for six years in a row, the company reported income of $0.60 per share in 2011. It's seen earning $0.66 a share this year, and $0.83 in 2013.

The company is expected to report its next quarter on or around May 10. Analysts are anticipating earnings of $0.15 a share on revenue of $997.36 million, which would be significant year-over-year gains on both counts.

Melco Crown's chart shows a stock that bounced off its 10-week average in heavier-than-normal volume this week. It's up about 9% from a recent buy point of $14.25, so I would consider it out of purchasing range for the moment. It still has some ground to cover before regaining its prior high of $16.15 (which it hit in early August), so the stock may present some additional buying opportunities on pullbacks in the coming weeks.

From another part of the world, recent IPO Yandex (YNDX) is a Russian search engine and Internet content company. Though the site is written in Russian, and uses the .ru domain common for Russia-based companies, Yandex's headquarters is actually in the Netherlands.

In addition to its Web site, the company operates an online payment system, and this week, it launched a branded debit card. Yandex went public at $25 in May. Of course, as the market skidded in the summer of 2011, Yandex went down with it (as did most stocks, to one degree or another). It bottomed in December, hitting a low of $16.60.

The stock posted a gain of 36% in the first quarter, but is pulling back slightly so far this month. However, recent weekly closes have been less than 1% apart. That's often a precursor of further price gains. The 50-day moving average is setting up to cross above the 200-day line, another potentially bullish technical signal. At the moment, a buy point could occur above $28.14.

Yandex has confirmed that it will report its first-quarter results before Wall Street's open on April 26. Analysts are expecting income of $0.15 a share on revenue of $194.47 million. Those would be year-over-year increases.  In the past eight quarters, earnings have grown at a rate of 20% or higher. Revenue gains have been 38% or more during that time.

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