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International diversification is nothing new, although it's recently been spurred by the growth and success of emerging markets. This year alone, developing-market ETFs have fared much better than most developed countries' indices. For instance, the iShares MSCI Emerging Market Index has returned roughly 67% so far in 2009; compared with the 23% return of the S&P 500, that's pretty impressive.
Although some domestic stocks like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) have seen substantial gains year to date, blue chips like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT ) and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD ) have yielded slightly negative returns. Investors who placed their money in foreign or emerging-market index funds have generally fared much better. Brazil, for example, has seen tremendous gains from stocks like Petroleo Brasileiro (NYSE: PBR ) and AmBev (NYSE: ABV ) . And Chinese stocks Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU ) and Fuqi International (Nasdaq: FUQI ) have also helped bump up the Chinese market by bringing in monstrous returns.
As we move into 2010, one can only imagine that the next great international stock is out there, just waiting for one of us to pluck it up. What's your investing viewpoint: Brazilian sugar, Chinese agriculture, Indonesian telecom? Share your favorite international investment in the comments box below in less than 250 words. Our editorial team will select the most compelling thesis, and the winner will receive a free digital subscription to Global Gains, our international investing newsletter (a $299 retail value). The contest is open until 8:00 p.m. EST on Dec. 17, and all contest rules can be found here -- don't miss out!