On our Exchange-Traded Funds discussion board the other day, a poster who goes by the handle wcfenton asked a good question: "If a person could only select one ETF to represent their international allocation ... which would you select?"
ETFs, in essence, are mutual funds that trade on the open market, like stocks do. Among other benefits, they offer a good way to give yourself instant exposure to a broad range of international companies without having to spend months or years studying. Check out our ETF Center to learn more about why you might want to invest in these stock-fund hybrids.
In reply, fellow Fool community member ZuzuFool offered the following: "I allocate [about] 16% of my IRAs to international holdings. I originally split this as follows: 50% iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund
For those who don't know, the MSCI EAFE is the MSCI Europe, Australasia, and Far East index fund, a major international benchmark focused on large foreign companies. The Emerging Markets Index fund is, obviously, focused on smaller firms in developing regions. ZuzuFool explained that EAFE gives him a broad exposure to foreign investments, while the Emerging Markets Index adds some speculative exposure. He said he added Dodge & Cox because "I do think there is value in having an experienced managed fund selectively pick investments."
We think so, too, and that's why we offer our analysts' recommendations in our newsletters, which you can try for free. Shannon Zimmerman even recommended the Dodge & Cox fund in our Champion Funds newsletter more than a year ago, and it has advanced by more than 40% since then.
If you're intrigued by the EAFE fund, know that its major holdings include energy company BP
International mutual funds are also well worth considering, for the same reason you might want to check out international ETFs. If you find smart fund managers with strong track records and agreeable philosophies and ethics, consider investing with them. Try our Champion Funds newsletter for free, and you'll see which 20-plus funds we've recommended so far. (Actually, all our newsletters have been pretty impressive so far -- see for yourself.)
Learn more about ETFs by visiting our spiffy ETF Center and checking out these articles:
- ETF Investors Go Sector-Crazy
- Mutual Funds vs. ETFs
- What to Do When ETFs Split
- ETFs and Falling Fund Fees
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own any shares mentioned in this article.