LOOKING for adventure? High drama? And potential financial return - providing the world economy stays on course during 1989 and 1990? Many financial analysts with that resum'e are taking a hard look at corporations engaged in international trade or that have a strong presence abroad - and not just companies listed on the major exchanges in the United States, but also those on overseas exchanges. It's no secret that overseas exchanges did particularly well last year, in almost all cases outperforming the major US exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange. Though only the boldest financial professional would assume that overseas exchanges will repeat the pattern this year, the underlying fundamentals - to date at least - remain strong for the most important overseas economies and thus, the major exchanges.
``The acquisition game has really just started here, and there's a lot of mergers and acquisitions to take place,'' says Gerry Postlethwaite, managing director of KLP International, London, a sales, promotion, and data-based marketing-information service. According to Mr. Postlethwaite, most key companies in Europe are making important decisions to position themselves for 1992, when Western Europe forms one giant economic market.
A number of European stock markets outperformed the US last year, including Paris, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. European economic growth - sparked in part by solid export expansion - has been one factor explaining the strength in that continent's exchanges. Another factor: merger/acquisition plans, as well as capital development goals geared to the early 1990s.
The Tokyo exchange also roared ahead of its US counterparts during 1988. The Nikkei average closed at 30,159.0, which meant a gain of almost 40 percent there over 1987. The Dow Jones industrial average, by comparison, gained about 12 percent over 1987. Of course, the US gain came on top of a market that had plunged in 1987.
``As long as foreign-exchange differentials remain basically unchanged, and interest-rate levels don't move too much, we see the [Tokyo] market moving up another 15 percent to 20 percent,'' says Masaru Konno, an equities sales specialist with Nomura Securities International Inc. here. Mr. Konno believes that the Nikkei will move up to the 32,000 to 33,000 range by the end of March. Then, says Konno, ``there will be a period of profit taking,'' followed by another move toward 40,000 by late 1989.
Konno, for his part, likes Japanese equities linked to that nation's domestic economy, as contrasted with export-oriented issues. Examples, he says, would be companies in construction, housing, and real estate. ``Investors need to be very realistic, however, and take a long-range view,'' he says. That means investing for at least five years.
Other Asian exchanges, including Singapore and Hong Kong, also outperformed the Dow during 1988.
In Europe, US companies, including export-oriented firms, have a ``window of opportunity'' to bolster their presence there before 1992, says Roger Poor, a principal with Arthur Young & Co., Washington. Mr. Poor notes that US exports to Europe grew by a solid 26 percent since 1987, although much of that stemmed from the lower dollar.
A Week on the Stock Market Dow Jones industrial average and daily change for week of Jan. 2, 1989 Mon. Market closed Tues. 2,144.64 -23.93 Wed. 2,177.68 +33.04 Thurs. 2,190.54 +12.86 Fri. 2,194.29 +3.75 Change for the week: up 25.72