Top Picks 2017: Baidu

Focus: STOCKS

Paul Goodwin Image Paul Goodwin Emerging Markets Specialist and Analyst, Cabot Heritage Corporation

My Top Pick for speculative investors for 2017 is the company that operates the most popular Internet search engine in the largest Internet market in the world, explains global expert Paul Goodwin, editor of Cabot Emerging Markets Investor.

Baidu (BIDU) is the choice of most of the nearly 700 million Chinese who go online every month. The company’s success springs from the accuracy and ease of use of its Chinese-language search engine.

BIDU ran into trouble in 2011 and 2012, as it lost out to more nimble competitors during the massive Chinese switchover to mobile devices as the primary way to access the internet.

But BIDU soared from $83 in March 2015 to $252 in November 2014, its all-time high. Since that high, BIDU has been up and down, but has traded in a steadily tightening range.

The result is a stock with a bargain basement 11 P/E and a huge capital spending program that is moving the company into mobile payments, online marketplaces and performance-based online market services.

The company is also going global, and has more than 260 million active users in markets outside China.

Estimates call for earnings, which were down sharply in 2016 to jump 33% in 2017. I think of Baidu as a monster of a Chinese value stock. Buy.

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