The World's 5 Hottest Markets

Have you licked your portfolio's wounds yet? If you're like me, you're still smarting from a doozy of a quarter. However, there were several foreign markets in which investors are better off today than they were three months ago.

Sure, we may live in a global economy, but every country ultimately moves to its own beat and circumstances. Let's see how green the grass grew on the other sides of the planet during this year's turbulent first quarter.

Return in U.S. dollar

Return in Local Currency

Morocco

24.4%

16.1%

Peru

14.5%

4.8%

Slovakia

10.7%

(1.3%)

Pakistan

8.5%

10.3%

Mexico

8.3%

5.9%

Source: Dow Jones indexes.

Naturally, a lot of these returns look a lot better for stateside investors, given the weakening dollar. Only Pakistan came out better for the locals. Isn't that yet one more reason to diversify your portfolio with some foreign stocks?

You don't need to hop on a jet to take advantage of these markets, since many overseas winners trade on stateside exchanges, but buying great foreign stocks isn't always easy. Maroc Telecom (OTC BB: MAOTF.PK) is a decent proxy for the growth of telecommunications in Morocco, although it trades infrequently as a pink sheet stock in this country.

You'll find better liquidity in some of the hot markets closer to home. Making a bet on Mexico is simple. You can snap up individual issues like telco giant TelMex (NYSE: TMX  ) , or pick such Motley Fool Global Gains recommendations as cement maker Cemex (NYSE: CX  ) , discount retailer Wal-Mart de Mexico (OTC BB: WMMVY.PK), and airport operator Grupo Aeroportuario del Centro Norte (Nasdaq: OMAB  ) .

If you prefer a basket of stocks, you have Mexico Fund (NYSE: MXF  ) as a closed-end fund, or iShares MSCI Mexico Index (NYSE: EWW  ) as an exchange-traded fund.

If you want to take a broader look at emerging markets, Motley Fool Champion Funds has a few recommended possibilities in SSgA Emerging Markets (FUND: SSEMX  ) and Matthews Pacific Tiger (FUND: MAPTX  ) .

Naturally, developing countries are ripe with both reward and risk. Emerging markets tend to dominate the list of quarterly winners, but also the list of losers. Either way, the world commands your attention these days. Diversification is all about building a bigger basket.

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