Emerging Markets on a Roll
The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Emerging markets are on a tear, and you should be invested in them.
Of that there's no doubt. Emerging markets are defined as less developed nations that are growing rapidly, consisting of primarily Asian, Latin American and North African countries. The best known EM countries -- and the ones I'm going with here -- are the venerable BRIC nations: Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Despite the indisputable and productive contribution investments in EM can make to any growth portfolio, my observation is that by and large, investors avoid these markets.
I attribute this to some degree of psychological discomfort with investing in foreign lands, which by the way, suggests that markets are highly imperfect and subject to the nuances of the participants. This edges into the field of behavioral finance, and an article for a different day.
Another barrier to investing in EMs is the perceived degree of difficulty: Do you invest in foreign equities, domestic equities with BRIC exposure, or country specific ETFs? I counsel investors to use a blended strategy consisting of BRIC-exposed domestic equities and country specific ETFs.
For instance, while Brasil Foods SA might be a great stock that you can buy directly on the Bovespa through Schwab or almost any other broker, your capital gains could be wiped out by currency fluctuations. Managing these currency risks definitely not something you should try at home.