Global equity funds, those that invest in both domestic and foreign stocks, returned on average 10.9% for 2005. Top performing global regions included Latin America, which benefited from the commodity market, and Japan, due to anticipated reform with the postal savings system.
Exchange-traded funds give investors the opportunity to add many of the global regions in their portfolio. Below is a sampling of regions and ETFs representing that area.
Japan iShares S&P/Topix 150 Index Fund (ITF) This ETF had a return of 24% in 2005 and is down 0.3% for 2006. This year’s returns have been attributed to profit taking and a scandal at Livedoor, one of the technology companies. The markets are rebounding and a return of inflation should encourage consumer spending.
Latin America iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index (ILF) Strong earnings growth, attractive valuations, benign inflation have helped this ETF return 16% this year after a stellar return of 53% in 2005.