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A Challenging Second Quarter for International-Stock Funds

Many funds post losses amid trade concerns and currency weakness.

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While U.S. equity funds, particularly growth-oriented and small-cap strategies, fared well in 2018’s second quarter, conditions weren’t as favorable for international-stock funds. Concerns about a trade war with China and the impact of tariffs loomed large for global companies, with many funds building on first-quarter losses to stay in the red in 2018’s first half. A strong U.S. dollar and rising interest rates hurt many developing markets as investors shed riskier assets. Meanwhile, compared with a sanguine outlook in the United States, projections for growth slowed abroad, setting up a quarter in which the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index lost 2.6% in U.S. dollar terms even as the S&P 500 gained 3.4%.

Geopolitical concerns hit some countries particularly hard. Brazil’s projections for economic growth dipped alongside inflation concerns, high unemployment, and a plunging currency. The Latin America Morningstar Category posted the steepest loss for the quarter at 22.4%. In Turkey, questions about monetary policy, inflation, and the country’s economic position against the backdrop of a presidential election led its currency to slide. India, which imports much of its energy resources, was hit by rising oil prices.

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Katie Rushkewicz Reichart does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.