NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Thanks to the introduction of exchange traded funds, investors are now easily able to take a global approach to managing to their investment portfolio.With products aimed at exposing investors to nearly any nation imaginable, investors can literally have the world at their fingertips, using products to capture the strength of popular developed and emerging nations. Gaining international exposure has become so popular and simple that having some assets invested outside of the U.S. borders has become necessary for any well-balanced ETF portfolio. With the bevy of global options available and the economic turmoil plaguing many regions of the world, some investors can easily be left overwhelmed when it comes time to pick out promising international plays. However, gaining international exposure does not require looking halfway around the world. Rather than looking for opportunities in Europe, or Asia, investors can find promising U.S. equity exposure right in our own backyard. Often overlooked amidst all the news focused on economic turmoil facing the E.U. and China, Canada and Mexico are two regions which have managed to avoid negative economic headlines throughout most of 2010. Investors can access these two nations using the iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund ( EWC) and iShares MSCI Mexico Index Fund ( EWW) respectively. Both EWC and EWW have managed to climb in our long-term momentum rankings, indicating their resilience in light of the ongoing economic storms. EWC and EWW are designed to capture the broad strength of their respective nations. In doing so, the indices underlying both funds are comprised of the largest and most liquid companies hailing from each country. EWC's index is comprised of 99 companies hailing from our northern neighbor. Dominated by firms hailing from the financials, materials, and energy sectors, the fund's top five positions include Royal Bank of Canada ( RY), Toronto-Dominion Bank ( TD), Bank of Nova Scotia ( BNS), Suncor Energy ( SU) and Barrick Gold ( ABX). Together, these components account for a quarter of the fund's index. On top of providing investors with exposure to the Canadian economy, the heavy energy and materials exposure that comes with owning EWC also makes this fund a promising play on the ongoing economic recovery. As nations around the globe continue to heal and work towards strength, the demand for energy and resources are likely to increase, aiding companies such as SU, Potash of Saskatchewan ( POT) and Canadian Natural Resources ( CNQ).
Whereas EWC is an effective proxy for investors looking for a general play on the economic recovery, the Mexico ETF looks like a promising option for investors looking for a play on the consumer recovery. EWW sets aside the largest percentages of its portfolio to companies in the telecommunications and consumer staples sectors, which account for over half of the fund's portfolio. A more top-heavy fund than EWC, EWW's index is spearheaded by Carlo Slim's telecommunication empire America Movil ( AMX). Although AMX is only one of the 44 positions underlying the fund, it represents close to a quarter of the fund's index alone. The remainder of the fund's top five positions includes Wal-Mart de Mexico ( WMMVY), Grupo Mexico ( GMBXF), Fomento Economico Mexicano ( FMX), Grupo Televisa ( TV) and Cemex ( CX). ETFs have opened the doors for investors, allowing them to expand their investing horizons well beyond the shores of the United States. However, when considering the numerous global products available in hopes of creating an effective international portfolio, sometimes the strongest options can lie closest to home. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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