As developed countries continue to struggle with heavy debt loads and sluggish growth, the emerging markets burn hotter and hotter, and U.S. government policy stokes trade and currency concerns worldwide, the international picture is becoming increasingly pertinent--and, perhaps, increasingly bewildering--to investors.
This week, Morningstar.com checks in with our own analysts and strategists, as well as some of our favorite fund managers, to draw a global map for investors. Each day we'll roll out new article and video reports to identify the growth drivers behind the world's economies and the outlook for global investment returns (note: the two don't always correspond), provide insight on the impact of currency, and most importantly, offer practical tips for allocating assets to overseas investments and some specific picks for international investors.
Stay tuned: Each day we'll update this page with additional reports, so be sure to stop by throughout the week for something new.
Monday: Lay of the Land
Morningstar's Christine Benz and fund analyst Karin Anderson kick off the week with an international category performance recap to put recent international returns into perspective for investors. Christine also checks in with analyst Kevin McDevitt on recent foreign fund flow trends to see where fund investors are placing their bets today. Plus, Morningstar director of economic analysis Bob Johnson weighs in with the primary international factors behind his current forecasts, and Morningstar U.K. site editor Holly Cooks gets a global economic outlook from Roger Bootle, former HSBC chief economist and adviser to the UK Treasury.
- Foreign Fund Winners, Losers, and Comebacks
- Where Foreign Investors Are Placing Their Bets
- Bootle: Long Haul to Recovery for Developed World
- The Global Gears in the U.S. Economy
- Economic Growth Doesn't Equal Portfolio Growth
- Morningstar Readers Pick Their Stakes Abroad
- Europe: Spending Cuts May Hamper Future Growth Momentum (Thomas White International)
Tuesday: Emerging Markets
Matthews Asia Funds' Andrew Foster and T. Rowe Price's Gonzalo Pangaro check in with us Tuesday to offer their take on emerging-markets fundamentals, valuations, and opportunities. Plus, Morningstar fund analysts home in on diversified foreign funds with big appetites for emerging markets, as well as risk-conscious ways that fund investors can make emerging-markets plays. We'll also examine the rise of emerging-markets bonds with PIMCO's Michael Gomez, and take a closer look at the possibility for inflation in emerging markets given recent U.S. monetary policies.
- Emerging Markets Investors: Time to Check Expectations
- Gomez: Emerging Markets Bonds Can Continue to Outperform
- Emerging-Markets Bond Funds: From Emerging to Converging
- Emerging Markets Graduate During the Crisis
- What's an Emerging Market, Anyway?
- Risk-Conscious Ways to Make Emerging-Markets Plays
- Foreign Funds With Big Appetites for Emerging Markets
- You May Have More in Emerging Markets Than You Thought
- Emerging Markets Still Lead Global Recovery (T. Rowe Price)
- Why Have Emerging-Markets Countries Grown Faster Than Developed Countries? (Thomas White International)
- Global Economy: Manufacturing Growth Recovery Positive (Thomas White International)
- The Emerging Markets: Exploring the Consequences (INSEAD)
- Global Connections: The Influence of China (T. Rowe Price)
- Brazil: Powering Ahead to Meet Future Needs (Thomas White International)
- Middle East and Africa: Increased Oil Revenues Drive Growth (Thomas White International)
Wednesday: Currency Effects
With the dollar leading many market headlines recently, we're devoting Wednesday to a discussion of currency risk and opportunities. Morningstar ETF analyst Michael Rawson identifies which strategic investors may want to consider an explicit currency play in their portfolios, as well as the case (and pick) behind the tactical currency play in Morningstar ETFInvestor's Hands-On Portfolio. Morningstar's ETF team also gives pointers for building a dollar-proof portfolio, and also offers tips for uncovering the implicit currency bets that might already be lurking inside investors' portfolios. Meanwhile, Morningstar fund analyst David Kathman comments on whether investors should bet against the dollar, and Morningstar's Christine Benz offers cautionary tips for currency speculators. Plus, we check in with currency fund manager Axel Merk for his take on the possible currency effects of the Fed's recent policies and how investors can respond.
- Does a Currency Bet Make 'Cents'?
- Merk: Don't Fight the Fed
- How Currency Risk Affects You
- The Dollar-Proof Portfolio
- Should You Bet Against the Dollar?
- You Don't Need Currency ETFs to Bet on Exchange Rates
- Currency Speculators Beware
- The Dollar: Every Man for Himself (Merk Funds)
- Currency Gains Worry Latin American Economies (Thomas White International)
Thursday: International Allocation
We bring the world to your portfolio on Thursday with a discussion of global asset allocation. Morningstar's Christine Benz interviews Ibbotson's Tom Idzorek on calculating a sound foreign stock allocation in developed and emerging markets, and whether that stake should change as investors approach retirement. Christine also surveys target-date funds' international allocations and Morningstar's Lifetime Allocation Indexes for additional insights. And on the topic of diversification, Morningstar markets editor Jeremy Glaser investigates the notion of increased global correlations, as domestic firms expand their businesses overseas, and the U.S. continues to import goods from emerging markets
- Benz: What's the Right Foreign Allocation?
- Ask the Expert: Calibrating Your Foreign-Stock Weighting
- Toolkit of a Global Go-Anywhere Portfolio
- Why Have Global Correlations Increased?
- Is Domestic Really Domestic?
- Archive: Why Your Domestic Portfolio Isn't
- Time to Rethink International Allocation (Calamos Investments)
Friday: Global Picks
We close out the week with a survey of top foreign stock picks from our equity analysts, opportunistic international ETF ideas, a fund screen for topnotch international anchors and prudent picks to add complementary exposure to your core foreign funds, and a sampling of recent picks from some of our favorite foreign fund managers.