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It's hard enough to know when a bull market will emerge. It's even more difficult to determine which industries will lead the charge.

The two tables below show whether the funds and groups that led the 2002 to 2007 bull market might pull off a repeat performance.

The table of investment objectives illustrates that a worldwide view proved a winning strategy. Emerging market funds were a slam dunk, as they accounted for 26% of the top 200 performers. Non-U.S. funds made up 34%, and global equity funds -- those with foreign and domestic holdings -- accounted for 3%.

Add the 12% that came from energy and natural resources, and the 10% from precious metals -- both groups have high international exposure -- and close to 85% of the top 200 performers had at least some foreign flavor.

Another table shows the recent performance of mutual funds that rose the most during the bull market. All have been hammered over the past year. But each of the globally focused funds has outperformed the S&P 500 index over the past three months.

A clue to hidden strength can be seen in the summary of major indexes at the bottom of the table. Gauges representing the pure equity categories were led by the MSCI emerging markets index, off 4.8% during the past three months, significantly better than the 17% decline suffered by the S&P 500.

But while only two of the globally focused bull-market leaders have declined by double-digit percentages over the most recent three months, seven of the U.S. leaders are down 10% or more.

Energy and natural resources dominate the domestic list, with four funds on the domestic leaders' side for the last bull market and one on the globally focused section. While petroleum has more than halved from its 2008 peak, some analysts say it's unlikely to fall further.

That's no guarantee that international diversification will be profitable in a new bull market. But the evidence seems compelling that looking beyond our shores is worthwhile.

A lesson that the tech bubble of the late 1990s and the subsequent crash should have driven home is never to believe that "things are different this time." The next bull market almost certainly will have different leadership than the last. But it probably won't be completely different than the run-up that began in 2002 and ended in late 2007.

The Top Categories and Industries From 2002 to 2007
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
PCT. OF TOP 200 PERFORMERS *
PCT. OF TOP 500 PERFORMERS *
PCT. OF TOP 1,000 PERFORMERS *
PCT. OF ALL EQUITY FUNDS
Aggressive Growth
1.0
1.0
1.3
1.7
Asset Allocation - Domestic
0.0
0.0
0.4
6.1
Asset Allocation - Global
0.0
0.4
0.5
0.8
Balanced - Domestic
0.0
0.0
0.1
4.3
Balanced - Global
0.0
0.0
0.1
0.1
Convertible
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.5
Emerging Market Equity
25.5
10.4
5.2
2.0
Energy/Natural Res
12.0
5.0
2.6
1.1
Equity Income
0.0
0.2
0.8
2.9
Financial Services
0.0
0.0
0.4
1.1
Global Equity
3.0
5.8
7.0
3.9
Growth - Domestic
4.0
6.4
10.0
24.7
Growth & Income
0.0
0.0
1.3
7.9
Health/Biotechnology
0.0
0.4
0.7
1.5
Mid Cap
1.0
3.0
10.4
9.0
Non-US Equity
34.0
40.8
26.9
10.8
Precious Metals
10.0
4.2
2.1
0.8
Real Estate
2.0
7.6
4.6
2.0
S&P 500 Index
0.0
0.0
0.1
1.6
Small Cap
3.0
8.6
18.8
13.6
Tech/Communications
3.5
3.6
4.7
2.8
Utilities
1.0
2.6
2.0
0.8
Max. Ann'l Ret'n for Group (%)
55.52
55.52
55.52
55.52
Avg. Ann'l Retn for Group (%)
35.16
28.34
23.86
17.28
Min. Ann'l Ret'n for Group (%)
27.58
21.59
17.67
-31.16
* Pct. Of Total Represented by Funds in Specified Objective for Period 10/31/2002 - 10/31/2007.
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings (Data as of 2/28/2009).

Funds That Led the Last Bull Market
NAME, TICKER & TheStreet.com RATINGS GRADE
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE
CUMULATIVE BULL MKT. RET'N (%) *
ANNUALIZED BULL MKT. RET'N (%/YR.) *
LATEST 3 MO. RET'N (%)
LATEST 12 MO. RET'N (%)
GLOBALLY FOCUSED FUNDS
BlackRock Latin America Inv A (MDLTX) C
Non-US Equity
809.71
55.52
-3.55
-59.15
T. Rowe Price Latin America (PRLAX) C+
Non-US Equity
767.18
54.04
-4.02
-59.48
Eaton Vance Greater India A (ETGIX) E
Non-US Equity
762.41
53.87
-5.74
-63.62
Fidelity Latin American Fund (FLATX) C
Emerging Market Equity
747.33
53.32
-1.27
-57.93
US Global Inv Global Resources (PSPFX) E-
Energy/Natural Res
729.69
52.68
-11.26
-64.42
Fidelity Adv Latin America A (FLTAX) C
Non-US Equity
712.34
52.04
-1.34
-58.02
Principal Inv Intl Emrg Mkts A (PRIAX) C-
Emerging Market Equity
638.74
49.18
-6.67
-57.41
DWS Latin America Eq Fund A (SLANX) C-
Non-US Equity
615.22
48.21
-3.26
-59.64
US Global Inv World Prec Minerals (UNWPX) C
Precious Metals
603.34
47.72
32.13
-57.95
ING Russia A (LETRX) E
Emerging Market Equity
583.66
46.88
-16.31
-72.74
DOMESTICALLY FOCUSED FUNDS
CGM Realty Fund (CGMRX) E+
Real Estate
474.84
41.88
-15.94
-60.53
CGM Focus Fund (CGMFX) C+
Aggressive Growth
350.64
35.13
-18.25
-57.39
Pacific Advisors Small Cap A (PASMX) E+
Small Cap
345.36
34.82
-16.30
-53.35
BlackRock Natural Resource Inv A (MDGRX) C+
Energy/Natural Res
327.24
33.70
-12.27
-52.25
Fidelity Adv Energy A (FANAX) D
Energy/Natural Res
297.97
31.82
-13.52
-56.72
ICON Energy (ICENX) C
Energy/Natural Res
294.03
31.55
-17.42
-38.96
Franklin Natural Resources A (FRNRX) C
Energy/Natural Res
290.26
31.30
-7.92
-54.31
Royce Value Plus Fd Svc (RYVPX) C-
Small Cap
286.12
31.02
-9.60
-45.10
JennDry Jennison Utility A (PRUAX) C
Utilities
274.59
30.23
-12.54
-49.57
Columbia Technology A (CTCAX) D+
Tech/Communications
272.69
30.10
-3.50
-43.20
SELECTED MARKET INDICES
MSCI Emerging Markets Index
Market Index
441.36
40.18
-4.77
-56.03
DJ US Oil & Gas Index
Market Index
274.12
30.20
-17.50
-42.37
Dow Jones Utility Average Total Return
Market Index
222.77
26.41
-14.27
-29.49
MSCI EAFE Index
Market Index
189.78
23.71
-14.15
-49.94
FTSE NAREIT REIT: All
Market Index
161.32
21.18
-22.07
-56.04
Gold: London PM
Market Index
149.08
20.02
16.88
-2.01
Russell 2000 Index
Market Index
135.37
18.67
-17.39
-42.38
S&P 400 Midcap Total Return
Market Index
120.88
17.17
-12.17
-42.00
S&P 500 Composite Total Return
Market Index
95.53
14.35
-17.31
-43.32
Merrill Lynch U.S.High-Yield Bond
Market Index
80.95
12.59
9.52
-22.97
DJ US Financial Index
Market Index
76.59
12.04
-34.94
-64.34
Merrill Lynch All Quality Convertible
Market Index
70.68
11.28
6.32
-26.28
Barclays Capital U.S. Aggregate Bond
Market Index
24.11
4.41
2.43
2.06
Merrill Lynch 91-Day Treasury Index
Market Index
15.75
2.97
0.02
1.41
* 5-year period ended 10/31/2007.
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings (Data as of 2/28/2009).

For an explanation of our ratings, click here.
Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.