As investors await the outcome of various global crises -- from Athens to Washington -- they're going to great lengths to avoid risk. Many are shunning any new stock purchases until confidence can be restored. But some investors aren't waiting for the "all clear" to sound, snapping up great companies while they're awfully cheap. Lately, I've been highlighting pockets of deep value in the United States, but virtually the entire planet is on sale at the moment. Leading blue chips in virtually every stock market
are now selling at prices well below levels seen this past spring. With the exception of the market rout of 2008/2009, many of these blue chips haven't been this cheap in several decades.
If you're looking to start loading up on bargains now, or at least want to be ready to move quickly when the time is right, then I've compiled a list of 20 international blue chips that are certifiably cheap. How cheap? Every stock on this list has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio below 8, based on projected 2012 profits. To add an extra level of safety, I've excluded companies that operate in the banking sector. It's simply too soon to wade into this troubled sector until the European debt crisis is resolved. I've also culled China-based American depositary receipts (ADRs) from the list. Until that country gets serious about rigorous oversight of accounting practices, investors are taking on too much risk with these stocks.
So here's what I've found...
Talk about geographic diversity. These blue chips are domiciled across Europe, as well as in Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Israel and Russia. Sure, business conditions are tough in many of these regions, but all of these companies remain solidly profitable and are now just too cheap to be ignored.
Take Honda Motor (NYSE: HMC) and Nissan Motor (Nasdaq: NSANY) as examples. Honda has always been one of the leanest automobile manufacturers in the world and is expected to benefit from an upcoming aggressive slate of redesigns for its key popular cars such as the Accord and CR-V. Nissan, which has long toiled in Toyota's shadow, is emerging as a key player in the push for electric vehicles, in tandem with partner Renault.