Tap into this Growing Sector

The number of Hispanic businesses in the United States is growing. Sales derived from Hispanic-owned firms are estimated to reach $330 billion in 2007, and then steadily grow to $539 billion by 2012, according to research by HispanTelligence, the research division of Hispanic Business Inc. According to the report, the three major areas of Hispanic business include retail, wholesale trade, and construction.

The importance of Hispanic businesses and the Hispanic consumer cannot be ignored. The trend clearly indicates their rising importance in the everyday fabric of American business. In a recent study by the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanics as a group are predicted to account for a staggering 30% of the U.S. immigrant population by 2050. As an investor, there are many opportunities to play the significant growth in this key consumer group.

For a barometer of Hispanic stocks listed in the U.S., take a look at the Ramirez & Co Hispanic index launched in December 2003 by investment bank Ramirez & Co. The index, which consists of about 10 companies, has easily outperformed other indices since 2000.

The fact of the matter is that the Hispanic community is significant and stocks that cater to this consumer group could win big going forward.

As far as U.S.-listed stocks with a Hispanic orientation, I have provided a list and descriptions below. The listing of these stocks should not be construed as an endorsement and it is only for information purposes. I advise more due diligence in examining these companies. Those belonging to the Hispanic index are indicated.

Entravision Communications Corporation (NYSE/EVC) is a Spanish-language media company that targets U.S. Hispanics.

First BanCorp (NYSE/FBP, Hispanic index) is a financial holding company operating in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Gruma, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE/GMK) produces and distributes corn flour and tortillas.

International Bancshares Corporation (NASDAQ/IBOC, Hispanic index) is a financial holding company comprised of four banks in south and southeast Texas.

MetroCorp Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ/MCBI) is a Houston- based bank with a Hispanic customer base.

Popular, Inc. (NASDAQ/BPOP, Hispanic index) provides financial services in Puerto Rico, the United States, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Spanish Broadcasting System, Inc. (NASDAQ/SBSA, Hispanic index) is a Hispanic-controlled radio broadcasting company with stations across the United States.