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How do I get exposure to the U.S. economy?

Those who follow the sharemarket closely know that stocks are on the up and investors are making money. The S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) is currently trading at 5,543 points which is within a whisker of its 52-week high and some market strategists are already forecasting the market is headed for 6,000.

In percentage terms the S&P/ASX 200 Index has now gained 11.5% in the past 12 months. Results get more impressive as the timeline is extended – gains of nearly 40% in the past five years; gains of nearly 60% in the past ten years.

Investors who have kept up with the market’s return over the past decade are certainly sitting on some healthy gains, BUT those gains are significantly lower than the gains U.S. investors have been enjoying!

The S&P 500 has in fact blitzed the Aussie market over one, five and ten year timeframes. The five-year return is particularly telling – the S&P 500 is up 111%!

The rally in US stocks has been in response to a growing belief by investors in the sustainability of a U.S. economic recovery and due to U.S. corporate profits reaching all-time highs.

For Australian investors there is no reason to sit idly by and watch the U.S. market outperform the ASX. By adding ASX-listed stocks with exposure to U.S. economic growth, investors here can position their portfolios to participate in the U.S. growth too.

Here are four stocks which could provide that U.S. exposure:

  1. ResMed Inc. (CHESS) (ASX: RMD) – the respiratory devices provided by ResMed continue to grow in popularity and the USA is the company’s single largest market.
  2. Brambles Limited (ASX: BXB) – the pallet and container provider is very well leveraged to a bounce back in consumer and manufacturing activity across the USA.
  3. Computershare Limited (ASX: CPU) – an increase in U.S. corporate activity should benefit the firm’s substantial registry operations in the USA.
  4. Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) – while many of its services can be considered non-discretionary, the tailwind of an improving economy could still lead to an uptick in volume as employment rises and people look to spend more on their health.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares in Computershare.

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