Goldman Buoyed by International Funds

The company's best performers last month invested in emerging markets, China and South Korea.
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Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Report

may no longer be an investment-banking powerhouse as it was in the past, but the firm will be supported by a huge asset-management arm that expanded abroad before most of its rivals.

About a third of the New York-based firm's investment-management professionals and assets are located outside the U.S., helping the firm capitalize on stock-market gains during December. Apart from one U.S.-focused mutual fund that invests in REITs,

The Goldman Sachs Real Estate Fund

(GREIX) - Get Report

, the majority of Goldman's top-performing funds contained holdings from overseas.

Goldman did particularly well in Asia, international small-cap and emerging markets.

Asian markets rallied through December, helping the

Goldman Sachs Asian Equity Fund

(GSAGX) - Get Report

, which placed its main emphasis on the markets of Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and China.

The

Goldman Sachs International Small Cap Fund

(GISAX)

loaded up on Japanese, U.K. and German equities. The

Goldman Sachs Structured Emerging Market Fund

(GERAX) - Get Report

mirrored GSAGX.

In December, broad indexes in the countries mentioned above rebounded, as did the Dow. Whether this can continue is an open question. There are two key questions for investors: (1) whether the news of any Obama stimulus plan really means that we are out of the woods, and (2) whether any forecast given by any organization or individual that suggests an economic rebound in 2009, is to be believed. There is no way I would put my money on either.

Sam Patel, CFA, is the manager of mutual fund research for the TheStreet.com Ratings.

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