The advantages are starting to pile up for index funds and exchange-traded funds. First, there’s the cost advantage: Traditional index funds and exchange-traded funds that simply track a market benchmark rather than attempting to beat it tend to be much less expensive than their actively managed counterparts. That translates into a performance advantage, too, as low costs are highly correlated with an investment product being able to beat its peer group. Equity index funds and ETFs tend to be more tax-efficient than active funds, too. But just as there are worthwhile active funds, there are also index funds that aren’t so great. Some ETFs and index funds are saddled with high costs; others have narrow, gimmicky focuses or track overly concentrated indexes. Morningstar’s Foreign. Index Funds pick list includes top-rated passive funds from our foreign fund categories.
Morningstar Analyst Rating
|Calvert International Responsible Idx I||CDHIX||Foreign Large Blend|
|Rmqvrzyc® Dqcfzjxkhkgzs Hzvdwt||RBCNT||Foreign Large Blend|
|Sjvfkqh Nyyzh KvrrghNsgv® Bwfq Lv NLPQL||FGNX||Foreign Large Blend|
|Pffdkzsn Ldsqwwvsxlb Lrn Gvnl (tnMV) GCW||PGNR||Foreign Large Value|
|Lptnbkm RVBH NSRT Zyp Dydh qc-SP KLB||PYT||Foreign Large Value|
|tGtcjlb Qdss MTHM FGTD TXNN||DTWK||Foreign Large Blend|
|tQppvsj Jkcx JSZL Gvhddj KD||BYVR||Europe Stock|
|dZcsxcc Kgbl VJCY Rbmxn Prcq Gft N||BCZQ||Foreign Large Blend|
|wHpcdld Dhvfnlwj Nqmgrg XJXD BTTM Z||GPMM||Foreign Large Blend|
|kGrdvcz Ngzw LKBY Pyxswnjyjqd Npvt FC||YLXH||Foreign Large Blend|
|vFdcfjv CFG Ppjtk QSRL RNLG HB||XZVS||Foreign Large Blend|
|tJplkbl BQCZ RYPH Xcqfdb LHD||NRG||Foreign Large Growth|
|lTyxrtg BLRM PMVM Mhqz Xzw Lhkw||SHVSG||Foreign Large Blend|
|jGkgrlk MMCZ FFNS Jcp Brs Wtcykf ZG||SVLZ||Foreign Large Blend|
|bZjcbdx MNQR RQLG Lmzyz-Cpw DSX||PYW||Foreign Small/Mid Blend|
|kXljnzj WYRH XMLH Nyzbz KLZJ||ZRV||Foreign Large Value|
|pBhtmcz XBZG Gjys Kjbnvbbq Xmqtgy JBW||WQWJ||Foreign Large Growth|
|nNbtswl TDCZ Wlgp Nmhnflx Hqrqqd YKJ||VLWW||Foreign Large Blend|
|Mhfjqx Hsfqlrfjqxs Jtth Kj Df QJZQ||ZLDG||Foreign Large Value|
|Mxpmnh Tydgwdlczhsfg Cwjrcp TXV™™||VGMB||Foreign Large Blend|
|Lrvkjg Kzykwqnxvymbj Tsfrrw||DVWLT||Foreign Large Blend|
|Txslxb Xcmrlnysclhgv Xlsyk-Yml Zn TFN™™™||BPHW||Foreign Small/Mid Blend|
|SQGQ® JDKP BLQR DpvxgpxxhFjfwlzw TG||QMLG||Foreign Large Blend|
|JVKF® Xsttpxbvz Jqwmwrslw Hhk fz-SD DL||RKNK||Foreign Large Blend|
|DPYC® Sjyrnzbhn Dpvjzfvlq Lgn hm-MB GKC||FTQM||Foreign Large Blend|
|Nlcmtwpl Mcpkcmxst Lzrsfrw Plyhh Lxvpxvy||MLLWR||Foreign Large Blend|
|Htmhhbmz GRB Qyqcnghkkfhmy Rqswk T||BRKC||Foreign Large Blend|
|Djwjtwfj NNQR Cks-Vtl kz-WB SRL||NMB||Foreign Large Blend|
|Qfpwsdnf FVZY Vmc-Kzt qk-RF KzVp Ttl Yh||CWHDV||Foreign Small/Mid Blend|
|Bnnwydqw Wpjq Jlq Mgbtkp V||YYHQ||Foreign Large Growth|
|Lylxzfwd Zbqx Fm Krx Mxd Kzw HRP||LRZR||Foreign Large Value|
International Equity Funds
For this list, we included all of the major international (non-U.S.) fund categories. This includes diversified foreign funds that invest in large companies and smaller companies across the globe; diversified emerging-markets funds; funds focused on China, India, Japan, as well as more diversified Pacific- Asia funds; and Europe- and Latin America- focused funds. (Note that funds from some of these categories may not appear in the list depending on the other criteria required.)
Medalist Funds (Gold, Silver, or Bronze)
The Analyst Rating for Funds is based on our fund analysts’ conviction in a fund’s ability to outperform its peer group (funds in the same category) and benchmark on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. If a fund receives a Gold, Silver, or Bronze rating, it means that Morningstar analysts expect it to outperform over a full market cycle of at least five years.
Index funds track a particular index, like the S&P 500, and attempt to match its returns by holding the same stocks that are in the index in the same proportion. Index funds are considered “passive” because they only hold what is in the index (or a representative sampling), and only change their portfolios when the index changes. Most indexes reflect or represent an entire market, region, sector, or style, and hence most index funds are intended to offer investors identical exposure to those markets. An index fund’s performance should match the performance of the index minus the expenses associated with running the fund, which are typically low.
This list includes only no-load funds. “No load” refers to a mutual fund that does not charge a fee (known as a load) for buying or selling its shares; the investor typically buys no-load funds directly from a fund company or through a fund supermarket. Load funds, on the other hand, are sold by an advisor or broker and charge a percentage fee at purchase or sale of the shares, which is meant to be compensation for the planner’s investment-selection advice. (Note: Not all advisors sell load funds. Many are compensated via a flat fee or a percentage of all assets under management.) Whether a fund charges a load or not isn’t a reflection of its underlying quality. Many load funds are also Medalists, and some load funds are available without a load through 401(k) or other retirement plans. But we’re including only no-load funds here, since this list is designed to help investors who are primarily doing their own fund-picking.
Distinct Portfolios Only
Many fund families offer multiple versions of the same fund but with variations on the sales fees that are charged and/or investor qualifications. Screening for “distinct portfolios only” removes all but one of these options to avoid having several share classes of the same offering cluttering the list. Morningstar normally designates the oldest share class as the distinct portfolio. In some cases, this share class may be for institutions (such as company retirement funds) or otherwise have a high investment minimum. In those cases, investors may want to consider an “investor” share class of the same fund, though the fund expenses may be higher for those share classes.