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Fund managers reveal their top international share picks

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As the world becomes ever more interconnected, international investing is on the rise. With that in mind, Your Money asked fund managers for their global stock picks.

The number of investors looking to put their money in foreign stocks has tripled year-on-year, according to TD Direct Investing.

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio by investing in companies outside the UK, here’s a round-up of some international stocks from two top fund managers who run global mandates.

Jeremy Podger, manager of Fidelity Global Special Situations, says:

“Google is a unique business because its dominance in online search and its global advertising platform give it a sustainable competitive advantage. Whilst the company is benefiting from strong growth in its core businesses, the market is just beginning to realise the potential value of innovation taking place across ‘new’ segments such as YouTube, Android, Google Glass, driverless cars, etc.

“US refiner Marathon Petroleum has premium assets and is leveraged to mid-continent crude price differentials. Formed as a spin off in 2011, the company is a good example of a beneficiary of ongoing corporate change. While the consensus underestimated the quality, size, pipeline and retail marketing position of the company when it was initially created, they are now underestimating potential synergies from its acquisition of the BP Texas City refinery.

“Hard disk drive manufacturer Western Digital exemplifies a business where value exists because the market has been focusing on demand concerns related to the structural decline in personal computers instead of acknowledging improved pricing prospects resulting from industry consolidation. Investors are also overlooking the large requirement for hard drive capacity from the enterprise segment and from cloud computing. The company has a solid balance sheet, healthy cash flows and favourable capital allocation policies.”

James Davidson, JPM Global Equity Income, says:

“A number of companies in our portfolio have recently raised their dividends including, Swiss Re, Wells Fargo, Japan Tobacco, Schneider Electric, Hutchison Whampoa and Time Warner. These dividend increases highlight that companies are generating strong levels of profitability and returning excess cash to shareholders. With many investors seeking to add risk to portfolios while maintaining a focus on income, dividend investing therefore continues to look attractive. Compared to bond alternatives, defensive dividend growth stocks offer compelling growth opportunities. The dividend yield of our portfolio is 4.0% versus the benchmark which is yielding approximately 2.6% and we continue to forecast strong dividend growth over the next few years.

“We see plenty of support for dividends from these levels and the current MSCI World dividend pay-out ratio is low by historical standards. There is still a lot of cash on corporate balance sheets and much of that will be deployed in returning to shareholders. Rather than seek the highest yielders, we prefer to buy companies with scope to grow their dividends alongside growing earnings, including Nestle among others.”

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