Top 10 Best Rated International Stock Mutual Funds Sep 2011

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Investment in International Stock mutual funds is essential. The following Top 10 Best International stock mutual funds of 2011 include Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap, Invesco Asia Pacific Growth A, DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap I, Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia A, T Rowe Price New Asia, etc. More best rated articles on MEPB Financial.

Introduction

Investing in international stock or global stock funds is not for everyone; however the investment may yield higher return for investors. There are various international stock funds. These funds can be classified as foreign large value, foreign large blend, foreign large growth, foreign small/mid value, foreign small/mid cap growth, Japan stock, Europe stock, diversified emerging markets, Latin America stock, global real estate, World stock, China region, diversified Pacific/Asia, etc.

There are several reasons to invest in international stock funds such as:
  • These funds can enhance your asset portfolio return.
  • The funds can provide instant asset diversification. These international stock funds are also experience different economic cycles than US stock funds. This means there is less correlation between US market and international market.
  • It provide world of opportunity for investor hence the past 40 years the world has expanded exponentially. Many of largest and best run companies are based on international region such as HSBC, Nestle, Siemen, BP, etc.
Note: International stock funds may be riskier and more volatile than US domestic stock funds. Please check the fund’s prospectus for investment risks and details.

The fund’s selection criteria are:
  • The fund has performed consistently for the past 3 years and long term.
  • The fund is acknowledged by Morningstar as one of the best funds with 4 stars or 5 stars rating
  • It has one of the top fund’s managers in this category
Top International Stock Funds 
Top 10 best international stock funds of September 2011 are:
  1. Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap (WAEMX)
  2. Invesco Asia Pacific Growth A (ASIAX)
  3. DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap I (DEMSX)
  4. Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia A (FEAAX)
  5. T. Rowe Price New Asia (PRASX)
  6. Matthews Pacific Tiger Investor (MAPTX)
  7. Wasatch International Opportunities (WAIOX)
  8. GMO Taiwan III (GMOTX)
  9. Matthews Asia Dividend Investor (MAPIX)
  10. Aberdeen Emerging Markets Instl Fd Instl (ABEMX)


Table 1: Fund Information
NoNameTickerRatingYieldExpense RatioLoadNet Assets (mil)Min to Invest
1Wasatch Emerging Markets Small CapWAEMX50.01%2.06%0.00%$886 $2,000
2Invesco Asia Pacific Growth AASIAX40.77%1.60%5.50%$623 $1,000
3DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap IDEMSX51.64%0.78%0.00%$2,000 $0
4Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia AFEAAX40.63%1.40%5.75%$414 $2,500
5T. Rowe Price New AsiaPRASX40.48%0.96%0.00%$4,600 $2,500
6Matthews Pacific Tiger InvestorMAPTX40.34%1.09%0.00%$5,300 $2,500
7Wasatch International OpportunitiesWAIOX40.00%2.26%0.00%$179 $2,000
8GMO Taiwan IIIGMOTX40.67%1.33%0.00%$133 $ 10 mil
9Matthews Asia Dividend InvestorMAPIX53.56%1.14%0.00%$2,700 $2,500
10Aberdeen Emerging Markets Instl Fd InstlABEMX50.90%0.95%0.00%$4,600 $ 1 mil

1. Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap (WAEMX)

Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap fund
The Wasatch Emerging Markets Small Cap seeks long-term growth of capital. The fund predominantly invests >80% of assets in the emerging markets countries equity securities. The fund may invest in common stock, preferred stock and securities convertible. The invested companies usually have market capitalizations of less than $3 billion at the time of purchase.

Roger Edgley and Laura Geritz are the current fund’s managers of this Wasatch fund. This emerging markets stock fund was introduced to public on October 1, 2007. This WAEMX fund charges 2.06% expense ratio every year. This fee is a bit higher compared to the average in the Diversified Emerging Markets category (1.69%). This is a no-load fund and there is no 12b1 fee for investing in this fund. Investor will need a minimum initial investment of $2,000 to open a brokerage or IRA account in this fund. For additional minimum subsequent investment, you will need $100 or more.

Since its inception, the performance of this fund is as below:
  • Year 2008: -57.08% 
  • Year 2009: 117.72%
  • Year 2010: 41.22%
This fund has -1.95% YTD return. Morningstar gave this WAEMX fund 5-stars rating. And it is on the 4th YTD rank in the category.

The top 10 stocks as of June 2011 are Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. - India (2.00%), Mr Price Group Ltd.  - South Africa (2.00%), Bata India Ltd. – India (1.90%), Turk Traktor ve Ziraat Makineleri AS – Turkey (1.70%), PT Holcim Indonesia Tbk – Indonesia (1.60%), Clicks Group Ltd. - South Africa (1.50%), Cia. Hering – Brazil (1.50%), Restoque Comercio e Confeccoes de Roupas S.A. – Brazil (1.50%), PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Tbk – Indonesia (1.40%) and Indraprastha Gas Ltd. – India (1.40%). These ten holdings represent 16.50% of the portfolio of 117 total holdings.

2. Invesco Asia Pacific Growth A (ASIAX)

Invesco Asia Pacific Growth fund
The Invesco Asia Pacific Growth investment seeks long-term capital growth. This Invesco fund typically invests most of net assets (>80%) in securities issued by foreign companies and governments in the Asia Pacific region (except Japanese issuers). It invests mainly in equity securities, but the investments may include synthetic instruments. The fund typically invests in issuers located in > 3 countries in the Asia Pacific Region. It may also invest <100% of net assets in issuers in developing countries. (i.e. those that are identified as in the initial stages of their industrial cycles)

Since its inception in November 1997, this Pacific/Asia stock fund has been managed by Barrett Sides. This fund do has a small yield of 0.72%. The annual expense ratio of this fund is 1.60% which is comparable to the average in the Pacific/ Asia ex-Japan Stock category (1.79%). To start investing in this fund, investor may need $1,000 for brokerage account and $250 for IRA account. The 12b1 fee is 0.25% and the front-end sales load is 5.50%.

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This ASIAX fund is available from 120 brokerages, like Merrill Lynch, Vanguard, JP Morgan, etc. The other classes of this Invesco Asia Pacific Growth fund are Class C (ASICX) and Class Y (ASIYX). The expense ratio of Class C is 2.36% and Class Y is 1.36%.

Morningstar has rated this ASIAX fund with 4-stars rating. Since its inception, it has recorded 8 years of positive return and 5 years of negative return. Based on the load adjusted return, this fund has returned 14.50% over the past decade.

As of June 2011, this fund has a total of 62 holdings. The top ten equity holdings are SM Investments Corp (3.50%), Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (3.45%), Taiwan Semiconductor (3.04%), Perusahaan Gas Negara (2.70%), CNOOC Ltd (2.68%), Kossan Rubber Industries (2.36%), BHP Biliton Ltd (2.34%), PT Summarecon Agung Terbuka (2.26%), NHN Corp (2.25%) and CSL Ltd (2.25%). The top countries are China (16.29%), Philippines (12.15%) and Australia (12.00%).

3. DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap I (MUTF: DEMSX)

DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap fund
The DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap fund’s objective is to provide long-term capital appreciation. This DFA fund invests majority of its assets in the Emerging Markets Small Cap Series. It purchases broad market coverage of smaller companies associated with each emerging market, including frontier markets (emerging market countries in an earlier stage of development). Details about the fund’s strategies can be found in the fund’s prospectus. As a non-fundamental policy, the fund invests >80% of its net assets in emerging market investments that are designated in the Prospectus as Approved Market securities of small companies.

This DFA fund charges an expense ratio of 0.78% per year. The average expense ratio in the Diversified Emerging Markets category is 1.69%. This mutual fund was introduced to public in March 1998. The current lead fund’s manager is Karen Umland. She is also the Vice President of the Dimensional. This DEMSX fund has total net assets of $2.14 billion. It shares 1.49% dividend yield. The last dividend was paid in June 2011 ($0.15). This is a no-load fund, means there is no front-end sales load fee or deferred sales load fee.

This DEMSX fund has 5-stars rating from Morningstar as it has recorded 8 years of positive return since its inception 12 years ago. This fund has -9.82% YTD return. Based on the load adjusted return, this fund has returned 21.93% over the past year and 16.26% over the past five years. This fund uses MSCI Emerging Market Index as its benchmark.

The top countries allocation of this DFA Emerging Markets Small Cap fund as of June 2011 is South Korea (14.77%), China (14.09%), Taiwan (13.93%), Brazil (11.16%) and India (10.81%). The top ten holdings as of July 2011 are Arca Continental SA DE CV (1.27%), Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd (0.51%), Lojas Renner SA (0.45%), Tongaat Hulett Ltd (0.41%), Eletropaulo Metropolitana Eletricidade De Sao Paul (0.39%), Spar Group Ltd/The (0.39%), Mr Price Group Ltd (0.35%), Foschini Group Ltd/The (0.34%), Enn Energy Holdings Ltd (0.34%) and Cia Hering (0.33%).

4. Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia A (MUTF: FEAAX)

Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia
The Fidelity Advisor Emerging Asia fund seeks long-term capital appreciation. This Fidelity fund invests most of assets (>80%) in securities of Asian emerging market issuers and other investments that are tied economically to Asian emerging markets. It invests mainly in common stocks. This top rated stock fund allocates investments across different Asian countries with emerging markets. It uses fundamental analysis of factors such as each issuer's financial condition and industry position, as well as market and economic conditions to select investments.

The CUSIP of this FEAAX fund is 315920413. The fund’s inception date was March 25, 1994. Colin Chickles has been managing this fund since January 2010. This Fidelity fund is in the category of Pacific/ Asia ex-Japan Stock fund. The fund has a 1.40% annual expense ratio. The minimum initial investment for brokerage account is $2,500 and $500 for IRA account. There is 0.25% 12b1 fee and 5.75% front-end sales load fee.

The fund has -7.88% YTD return. The performance of this fund for the three previous years is:
  • Year 2010: 21.85%
  • Year 2009: 72.58%
  • Year 2008: -45.66%
This fund has recorded 9 years of positive return with its best 1-year total return in 1999 with 77.34%. Morningstar has granted this FEAAX fund with 4-stars rating.

This fund is available for purchase from 83 brokerages. There are other classes of this fund, such as Class B, Class C, Class T and Class I.

As of June 2011, this Fidelity fund has 239 total holdings. The top ten holdings represent 22.49%. They are Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Taiwan Semiconduct Mfg Co Ltd, Industrial & Com Bk Of China H, Cnooc Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp H, Hyundai Motor Co, Fubon Financial Holding Co Ltd, Keppel Corp Ltd, Power Assets Holdings Ltd and Sk Telecom Ltd.

5. T. Rowe Price New Asia (PRASX)

T Rowe Price New Asia
The T. Rowe Price New Asia fund’s objective is to achieve long-term growth of capital. This fund invests >80% of net assets in Asian companies except Japanese companies. It may purchase the stocks of companies of any market capitalization or any size. The fund expects to make substantially all of its investments in common stocks of companies located in the countries of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand. It is considered as a non-diversified mutual fund.

This T. Rowe Price New Asia fund is one of the top international stock funds in the Pacific/ Asia ex-Japan Stock category. This fund has been in the market since September 1990. This TRP stock fund is currently managed by Anh Lu. Lu has been managing this PRASX fund since April 2009. This fund also has a dividend yield of 0.45%. The annual expense ratio of this fund is 0.96%. This is a no-load fund. There is no other class available for this TRP fund. To start investing in the brokerage account of this PRASX fund, investor will need $2,500. The total net assets of this fund are $4.61 billion.

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Since its inception, this fund has 13 years of positive return and 7 years of negative return. The best 1-year total return was accomplished in 2009 with 102.76%. Currently, the YTD return is -5.06%. Based on the load adjusted return, this fund has returned 18.57% over the past year and 17.41% over the past ten years. This fund uses Lipper Pacific ex-Japan Funds Average and MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan as the fund’s benchmark.

As of June 2011, the New Asia Fund had a total of 107 holdings. The top ten holdings represent 20.46% of the total net assets. They are Astra International Tbk PT, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, DBS Group Holdings, Hengan International Group, Hyundai Motor, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Infosys Technologies Ltd, NHN, Samsung Electronics Co and Taiwan Cement.

6. Matthews Pacific Tiger Investor (MAPTX)

Matthews Pacific Tiger Investor
The Matthews Pacific Tiger Investor fund is seeking long-term capital appreciation. This Matthews fund generally invests majority of net assets (>80%) in the common and preferred stocks of companies located in Asia such as China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam (except Japan). The location of a company can be determined by where it is organized, where its revenues and profits are derived, where its assets are located, or other factors.

The lead fund’s manager of this MAPTX fund is Richard Gao. He has managed this fund since January 2006. The inception date of this fund is September 12, 1994. This fund charges 1.09% annual expense ratio. It also has a small amount of dividend yield (0.31%). The last dividend paid in December 2010 was $0.08. As part of no-load fund, this Matthews Pacific Tiger fund charges no front-end sales load fee or deferred sales load fee.

Based on load adjusted returns, this MAPTX fund has returned 21.05% over the past year and 15.49% over the past three years. The 5-year average return of this fund is 5.72%. It has experienced 11 years of positive return and 5 years of negative return. MSCI All Country Asia ex-Japan Index is the fund’s benchmark.

The top 10 holdings of this fund as of July 2011 are Hyundai Mobis (3.1%), Bank of Ayudhya PCL (2.8%), Dongbu Insurance Co Ltd (2.5%), Genting BHD (2.5%), Perusahaan Gas Negara PT (2.2%), Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd (2.2%), Ping An Insurance Group Co (2.1%), Green Cross Corp (2.1%), Hang Lung Group Ltd (2.1%) and Bank Central Asia Tbk PT (2.1%). These top ten companies represent 23.7% of the total net assets.

7. Wasatch International Opportunities (Ticker: WAIOX)

Wasatch International Opportunities
The Wasatch International Opportunities fund objective is to provide long-term growth of capital. The fund largely invests in securities issued by foreign companies in developed markets. The invested companies have market capitalizations of less than $1 billion. It may invest 20% - 50% of assets in securities issued by companies in emerging markets. Normally, the fund invests in >5 countries included in the MSCI AC World Ex-U.S.A. Small Cap Index.

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This WAIOX fund is classified as one of the Foreign Small/ Mid Growth fund. The annual expense ratio of the category is 1.62% and the expense ratio of this Wasatch fund is a bit higher (2.26%). The fund was introduced to public in January 2005. The fund’s managers are Roger Edgley and Laura Geritz. The minimum initial investment for either brokerage or IRA account is $2,000. The minimum subsequent investment is $100. There is no 12b1 fee and no sales load for investing in this fund. This fund doesn’t share any dividend yield. It has $179.22 million total net assets.

The YTD return of this fund as of September 2, 2011 is -3.41%. It has 4-stars rating from Morningstar. Based on the load adjusted returns, this fund has returned 22.44% over the past year and 7.13% over the past five years. The performance of this fund since its inception is:
  • Year 2010: 26.10%
  • Year 2009: 75.04%
  • Year 2008: -54.74%
  • Year 2007: 15.17%
  • Year 2006: 31.50%
This Wasatch fund has 123 total holdings as of June 2011. The top ten holdings are MonotaRO Co. Ltd.  – Japan (1.60%), Olvi Oyj, Class A – Finland (1.60%), Kakaku.com, Inc. – Japan (1.50%), PT Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk – Indonesia (1.50%), KPJ Healthcare Berhad – Malaysia (1.50%), Tikkurila Oyj – Finland (1.30%), Oslo Bors VPS Holding ASA – Norway (1.20%), PT Resource Alam Indonesia Tbk – Indonesia (1.20%), SKF India Ltd. – India (1.20%) and PT Hexindo Adiperkasa Tbk  -Indonesia (1.10%).

8. GMO Taiwan III (MUTF: GMOTX)

The GMO Taiwan fund is seeking total return in excess of that of its benchmark, the MSCI Taiwan Index. The fund typically makes equity investments directly and indirectly in Taiwan companies. It may invest in companies of any market capitalization. Under normal market conditions, the fund invests directly and indirectly >80% of assets in investments tied economically to Taiwan. It is non-diversified.

This Asian stock fund is managed by Arjun Divecha since September 2009. The annual expense ratio is 1.33%. This is a no-load fund. The fund is in the category of China Region. This fund has performed in 7 positive return years within its 8 years performance. The YTD return of this fund is -2.36%.

9. Matthews Asia Dividend Investor (Ticker: MAPIX)

Matthews Asia Dividend Inv
The Matthews Asia Dividend Investor fund’s objective is to seek total return with an emphasis on providing current income. The fund usually invests >80% of total net assets in income-paying publicly traded common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible preferred stocks, and other equity-related instruments of companies located in the Asia Pacific region. It mainly invests in companies that exhibit attractive dividend yields and the propensity to pay increasing dividends.

Jasper Madsen has managed this Matthews fund since its inception in October 2006. This MAPIX fund also has a dividend yield of 3.40%. The last dividend was distributed in June 2011 ($0.11). This top stock fund has 1.14% annual expense ratio which is a bit lower compared to the average in the Diversified Pacific/ Asia category (1.60%). To start investing in the brokerage account of this Matthew Asia fund, you will need a minimum of $2,500 for the initial investment. This is a no-load fund. This fund has total net assets of $2.66 billion.

Morningstar gave this fund a 5-stars rating. Based on load adjusted return, this fund has returned 14.02% over the past year and 14.09% over the past three years. The YTD return of this fund is -3.47%. The performance of this fund since its inception is 22.83% (year 2010), 47.59% (year 2009), -25.97% (year 2008) and 18.05% (year 2007). This fund is currently on the 3rd YTD rank in the category.

The top 10 holdings as of July 2011 are Metcash Ltd (3.6%), China Mobile Ltd (3.0%), ITOCHU Corp (3.0%), Japan Tobacco Inc (3.0%), ORIX Corp (2.9%), HSBC Holdings PLC (2.8%), Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd (2.8%), KT&G Corp (2.5%), PTT Exploration & Production PCL (2.5%) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2.5%).

10. Aberdeen Emerging Markets Institutional Fund I (ABEMX)

Aberdeen Emerging Markets Inst. Fund I
The Aberdeen Emerging Markets Institutional Fund is to provide long-term capital appreciation by investing predominantly in equity securities of emerging market country issuers. The fund invests >80% of assets in emerging market countries’ equity. These companies typically has more than 50% of their annual revenue or assets from goods produced, sales made or services performed in emerging market countries.

This ABEMX fund has been managed by Devan Kaloo since April 2007 while the fund was introduced to public a month later in May 2007. The annual expense ratio of this fund is 0.95%. The average annual expense ratio in Diversified Emerging Markets is 1.69%. This is a no-load fund. The total net assets of this fund are $4.56 billion. The other class of this fund is Investor Shares (AEMSX) with 1.35% annual expense ratio.

Even though this fund is still new, but it has 5-stars rating from Morningstar. The performance of this fund since its inception is:
  • Year 2010: 27.58%
  • Year 2009: 76.55%
  • Year 2008: -40.36%
It has -3.55% YTD return. This Aberdeen fund is available for purchase from 20 brokerages such as JP Morgan, Pershing Fund Center, Schwab Institutional, Scottrade TF, etc.

The top ten holdings of this fund as of July 2011 are Vale (4.2%), China Mobile (4.1%), Samsung Electronics (3.8%), Petrobras (3.4%), Taiwan Semiconductor (3.4%), Banco Bradesco (3.4%), FEMSA (3.3%), Petrochina (2.9%), P.T Astra International (2.8%) and Swire Pacific (2.7%). These are the top ten holdings out of 57 total holdings and they represent 33.9% of the total portfolio.

Disclosure: No Position

Fund Performance

updated on 9/1/2011

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