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Investing Specialists

How American's Foreign Funds Stack Up

Which of these six international funds have something to write home about?

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Capital Group, the parent company of the American Funds, has had a dedicated international research effort since the 1950s, according to Charles Ellis in his book Capital. When the firm got started, it was rare for other asset managers, save Sir John Templeton, to show much interest in or dedicate resources to international investing. In fact, the MSCI EAFE Index, the main international index, was developed at Capital Group in the late 1960s so that it could measure its performance against a benchmark.

The American Funds' experience in international investing shows through a disciplined approach and strong results: The portfolio counselors tend to build their slices of the funds they manage one stock at a time. They make investments based on the fundamental merits of businesses rather than where they're domiciled. Where a business makes its sales and where it pays its expenses can affect its profitability significantly, and profits are more important to American's counselors than where a business's headquarters are.

In this article, we'll highlight global markets performance for the year to date through August 2009, and provide the skinny on American's global and international funds, discussing how they've stacked up to peers and benchmarks during the year and over the longer haul, and how they can fit in a portfolio.

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John Coumarianos has a position in the following securities mentioned above: MSFT, ANWPX. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.