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Take a chance on foreign funds

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No one’s had an easy time this year, and international-stock funds are no exception, writes William Samuel Rocco of Morningstar. Currency and valuation are just some of the factors leading the fall; some emerging markets funds have had to deal with local problems in addition to the global crisis.

Out of the mess though, investors can still find good long-term investments, Rocco writes. If you can find managers with the right skills and strategies, they still need the resources to pursue those funds. Rocco recommends a handful of funds that have managed to strike that balance.

AIM International Growth is a foreign large-growth fund with a 12 percent cash stake as of Oct. 31, Rocco writes. Part of the benefit of this fund, he says, is that its managers “make full use of the sector spectrum, consider mid-caps, and pay significant attention to emerging-markets issues as they search for high-quality companies with strong and sustainable earning growth.”

Artio International Equity II is a large-blend fund with experienced managers, Rocco writes, and at the end of October, had an 11 percent cash stake. The fund incorporates growth as well as value factors in its analysis, and uses a “top-down as well as bottom-up” approach.

Third Avenue International Value has a “safe and cheap” criteria, according to Rocco. A small/mid-value fund with a 15 percent cash stake, this fund has stakes in smaller, less-popular markets, and has significant exposure across the market-cap spectrum.


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