Brazil to be regional powerhouse - Itau (ITU) Brazil's second biggest bank (ITU, rated BUY)
Banco Itaú ( NYSE:ITU ) is Brazil's second largest banking company, having 11% market share. It is, like other Brazillian banks, headquartered in Sao Paulo. It is currently undergoing very strong growth due to Brazil's strength on the world trading markets (Brazil currently has a trading surplus of US$30Bn, rather than a trade deficit , as it had in the 1990s). Its current P/E is sensible at 13.64, (Unibanco, the next biggest Brazillian bank, has a P/E of 200+) and the company pays out respectable dividend, currently 1.3% of share price. Unibanco is well positioned to enjoy strong future growth, due to its position in a high-growth BRIC developing economy. Brazil currently has less than a quarter of the number of homes per capita compared to Mexico. It is anticipated that over the next few years, fueled by government subsidization, many more housing units will be built in former shanty towns, thereby increasing the amount of mortgages UBB sells, and increasing profits. Since Oct 14th 2002, the Brazillian bank's share price has rocketed from US$1.74 to US$24.69, while the company has managed sustained growth and payed out attractive dividends.