Q: My wife and I are interested in buying LG Electronics stock. We see the company's products in more and more places, but can't find the stock anywhere. How can we buy shares?
A: LG Electronics is a Korea-based maker of electronics, from cellphones to big-screen TVs and home audio gear. And you're right, the company's products seem to be showing up in more places in the USA.
But unfortunately for you, LG Electronics' stock isn't one of the things finding its way stateside. The stock trades on various exchanges around the world, but not on the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange. LG Electronics' stock is listed on the Korea Stock Exchange (symbol: 066570), the London Stock Exchange (LGLD) and on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LG Electronics).
If you want to own LG Electronics' stock directly, you need to find a broker who will let you buy the stock on the foreign exchange. E-Trade, for instance, recently boosted its Global Trading offering, allowing you to buy shares on several overseas markets, including London.
Just remember, this isn't as straight-forward as buying a stock listed on a U.S. exchange. You'll need to convert your dollars into the local currency to buy the stock, and there may be fees connected to currency conversions. In addition, you may have to convert the company's financial statements into dollars. Make sure you know what you're doing before trying this. If you're still interested, E-Trade provides information here.
A much easier approach would be to invest in a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that owns many Korean companies, including LG Electronics. An example would be the iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY). LG Electronics was the fund's 14th largest holding, accounting for 1.5% of the fund's assets through Aug. 31. It's not the pure play you asked for, but it might be better than dealing with foreign exchanges and currencies. You can read more about EWY and see the rest of the holdings here.
Matt Krantz is a financial markets reporter at USA TODAY. He answers a different reader question every weekday in his Ask Matt column at money.usatoday.com. To submit a question, e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.