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How to Crack the Asia/Pacific Investment Code

The "Asian century" and the "Chinese century" are terms that you are virtually certain to be hearing with greater frequency and earnest. And with the forthcoming Olympic Games in China, the volume of this terminology is sure to intensify.

With the U.S. dollar cascading relative to many Asian currencies and with treasuries and sovereign wealth funds in the region bulging, it makes sense to seriously consider diversifying into this part of the world.

So here is an investment quiz to test -- and possibly enhance -- your knowledge of Asian/Pacific investments.

Feel free to use the many features available on TheStreet.com to help you answer the questions. A great place to start your search for investment knowledge is the "Search" box at the top of TheStreet.com.

Another great resource available on our Web site is a glossary of definitions and explanations of financial and investment terms. Just roll-over the "Portfolio & Tools" tab at the top of the site and select the "Glossary" option.

This investment quiz is a self-test, so keep your own score. Ready?

Good luck!



Question 1: What are ADRs and ADSs?

If you are going to invest in individual stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, you should be familiar with these abbreviations. These actually apply to investments in most international stocks, not just those from the Asia/Pacific area. So you can eliminate the possibility of the "A" in each might stand for Asia.



Question 2: What are the ASEAN nations and what is their significance?

When you research Asian investments, from time to time, you will see mentions of "ASEAN nations." These aren't misspelled references to Asian nations.



Question 3: What are "red chips" and "H class" shares? Name the two countries primarily involved with these terms.

When you read about the U.S. stock market, you hear about "blue chip" stocks and publicly traded companies with "A" shares and "B" classes of stocks. But in researching Asian investments, you will come across mentions of "red chips" and "H" shares. It's important to understand what these terms mean and to be able to name the two countries primarily involved with these terms.



Question 4: How long ago did the Japan Nikkei 225 index reach its all-time high?

At the Nikkei's level at end of March of this year, how much would it have to gain in order to match its highest-ever reading? Compare this with the U.S. Nasdaq composite index.



Question 5: What was the best performing open-end mutual fund focusing on investments in the Asia/Pacific region for the 12-month period that ended March 31, 2008?

Unless you thoroughly research individual stocks in the Asia/Pacific region, the most practical way to invest in this part of the world will be by using mutual funds.

Also, consider what the best performing exchange-traded fund and closed-end fund from the Asia/Pacific group for the same period might be. Hint: These don't necessarily have to cover the entire region. Funds focused on one country or a group of countries in the region are sufficient.



Question 6: Among those now in existence, what is the oldest open-end, closed-end and exchange-traded funds specializing in Asian/Pacific investments?

And while you're at it, what are the largest funds that focus on the Asia/Pacific region?

As many investors learned during the crash that followed the tech stock boom of the late 1990s, "chasing performance" can prove to be a disastrous strategy. Many Asian cultures respect old age to a greater degree than most people do in Western nations. So the best performing funds in question five (above) may actually not be great investment choices.



Question 7: What is the name of the legendary investor who recently moved himself and his family to Asia because he believes the current century is going to be "the century of China?"

Plus, where in Asia did he move and for what reason (other than the growth potential of China)?



Question 8: What is a U.S. exchange-traded fund with a portfolio holding in a Papua New Guinea-domiciled company?

And what is the name of stock?

If some of the preceding questions weren't tough enough, this is one that will surely challenge you. So for dedicated trivia buffs and puzzle fiends, question eight will test your skills to the limit.

If you decide to research the investment potential of the Asia/Pacific area in-person and travel around the region, you are certain to visit the Australia-New Zealand region. If a flight takes you over Papua New Guinea, you might wonder if any U.S. funds invest in companies from that nation.

There are actually two ETFs with holdings of firms domiciled in the country. Some skilled Internet search work combined with common-sense investment logic will reveal one of them.

Ready for the answers to questions to one through eight?

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