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Go International With Country Funds

There are other examples of emerging markets with no fundamental link to commodities. These countries, like Turkey, have positive attributes, risk factors and can be extremely volatile at times. Other examples of low or no-commodity emerging country ETFs include iShares MSCI Israel Capped Investable Index Fund (EIS), iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index Fund (EPHE) and iShares MSCI Taiwan Index Fund (EWT).

During short-term, even severe, downturns like 2008 it is unlikely that the market would discern between commodity-based countries and countries without commodity exposure. But over the course of an entire stock market cycle or even a decade, capturing the attributes of different types of countries should provide better diversification and a better risk-adjusted result. During the last decade just about all emerging markets did well.

Looking ahead, should the run in commodities slow down or reverse some then countries not connected to commodities could perform better over the longer term as perceived consumers of commodities, like those already mentioned, could catch an extra tailwind from lower commodity prices.

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At the time of publication, Nusbaum owned EIS, although positions may change at any time.

Roger Nusbaum is a portfolio manager with Your Source Financial of Phoenix, and the author of Random Roger's Big Picture Blog. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Nusbaum appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.
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