Global corporations Sinopec, Vitol, Total and Glencore each earn at least $200 billion in annual sales -- but you've probably never heard of them.
It's the lack of familiarity with the world's top global companies that keeps many of us fromin foreign markets. But in the past decade, the rules of the game have changed -- for the better.
Rather than trying to figure which foreign companies should be in a well-rounded portfolio, many investors are seeking a new class of exchange-traded ETFs) that provides all of the international exposure you'll ever need.(
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You can now choose from dozens of AUSE), the Japan SmallCap (NYSE: DFJ) and the Wisdom Tree Middle East (NYSE: GULF). Wisdom Tree also ETFs that focus on foreign , currencies and even specific global industries such as and electric utilities.options, and some of the providers provide country-specific exposure with unique twists. For example, Wisdom Tree's strategists are big fans of dividend-paying , so they ETFs such as the Wisdom Tree Australia (NYSE:
You can read more about Wisdom Tree's offerings by clicking here.
In addition to Wisdom Tree, three other Barclays (the sponsor of the top-selling ), Global X and Market Vectors. Let's take a closer look.providers the bulk of country offerings:
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This family of have become quite popular with investors.is the most extensive, with a specific geared toward more than 30 countries. In fact, if you are looking to target specific countries such as Turkey, Belgium or Malaysia, these are your only direct path to them. Many of these have been around for more than a decade and
The Global X likely realized the platform already covered many , so they've constructed ETFs that take a slight detour from the traditional country- approach. For example, the Global X FTSE Nordic Region (NYSE: GXF) provides exposure across Scandinavia, while the Global X Andean 40 (NYSE: AND) focused on the largest companies among the Andean nations of South America.strategists at
Global X also offers a handful of China-focused ETFs, with each one geared toward a specific theme such as consumer stocks, financial stocks, etc.
Although Van Eck, the sponsor of Market Vectors ETFs, offers a half-dozen focused on specific countries such as Poland, Russia, Egypt and Colombia, there are also a smattering of regional thematic ETFs, including:
When these VNM), for example, surged nearly 50% from December 2012 to February 2013 as that country's appears to be building a head of steam.catch on with investors, they can really take off. The Market Vectors Vietnam (NYSE:
TheAnswer: So how have all of these ETFs performed in recent years? Well, it's important to remember the old phrase, "When the U.S. sneezes, the world catches a cold." That means these have generally fared well over the past half-decade but slumped badly in 2008 and early 2009 when our markets fell sharply.
Yet over the long haul, many of these countries are likely to keep boosting their economies at a fast pace. Indeed the IMF expects global economic growth outside the United States and Western Europe to approach 6% in 2013. And many economists expect that trend to continue -- unless our economy, which accounts for 25% of global GDP, hits another rough patch.
Disclosure: Wisdom Tree's founder, Jono Steinberg, is a former superior of David Sterman.