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TheStreet Open House

Look Beyond BRICs for Emerging-Market Investing

The BRIC countries are widely owned. Many funds specialize in just the BRIC markets, the BRICs also dominate broader emerging-market funds. For example, the iShares MSCI Emerging Market ETF (EEM) allocates 42% to the BRIC countries.

Before Brazil, Russia, India and China were "discovered" by the investing masses, they stood to benefit from new investment capital and that is what happened. Ten years ago, emerging-market investing became popular, money flooded in and the markets skyrocketed.

That potential discovery is no longer a catalyst for the BRICs, but is part of the story for the smaller emerging countries and the frontier markets targeted by BBRC.

A big risk factor for BBRC is its large exposure to South Africa, a country that relies heavily on mining gold and platinum. The mining industry has done poorly of late and so have South African equities, which as measured by the iShares MSCI South Africa ETF (EZA) are down 9.5% this year, compared with a decline of 4.2% for EEM.

BBRC can still do well with a struggling South Africa, but when mining rotates back into favor, then the fund will have a chance to do very well.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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