It’s no secret that emerging-markets countries like China, Russia, and India have been growing much faster than the U.S. economy, yet the truth is that investors with money in these markets may not have come out on top this year. In fact, chances are good that if you own one of these stocks, returns are lagging far behind returns on U.S. investments. Why? The idea that a nation’s economic performance is the main driver of returns in equities is one of several unfounded beliefs many investors have about the relative merits of developed and emerging markets, writes Journal columnist Michael A. Pollock.

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