You've got money, you've resolved to make this a banner investing year, and you're chomping at the bit to buy.


The problem with free advice
You're going to read a lot (and probably already have) about the great year U.S. large-cap growth stocks are having. Indeed, Monsanto (NYSE:MON), Wrigley (NYSE:WWY), and EMC (NYSE:EMC) have all been solid performers with expanding multiples.

And there's Genentech (NYSE:DNA), a storied name that many pundits predict has a comeback in its cards, despite a disappointing year.

Last year's laggards
But on top of good 2007 performance, U.S. stocks had a great 2006. Buoyed by Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) (up 78%) and DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) (up 77%) the S&P 500 returned a rousing 15%. That's 5 percentage points better than its historical average.

So if these growthy giants are recovered from a few years of underperformance and economists aren't expecting our economy to grow any faster than the 2%, what will make these names high-flying going forward?

Get thee behind me, prediction
It's tempting to get caught up in these shortsighted crystal-ball games. We read about them in the news, and we pass judgment based on otherwise quite random 12-month periods.

But if you're eager to put your money to work, remember that you're putting it to work for more than a random 12-month period. If your aim is to get rich, you're putting it to work for the next decade or more.

That's why I was heartened to read The Wall Street Journal advising investors that "2007 may be the year that the rest of the world helps pull up the U.S. stock market." Why? Because "Every major emerging economy is booming."

And that's true. The world's best returns last year made our own bull market appear puny indeed.

The emerging trend in emerging markets
But 2007 won't be the first year that emerging global economies help pull up U.S. investors. The global MSCI EAFE index has outperformed the S&P 500 annually since 2002.

This is a trend U.S. investors should expect to continue, despite inevitable volatility, in 2007, and for your investing time horizon of the next decade or more.

Countries such as India, China, and Slovenia have advantages such as younger workforces, greater population growth, or economies with more significant upside potential. In other words, unlike U.S. large caps, the stocks in these countries have significant tailwinds.

Buy these stocks this year
Unfortunately, the recent outperformance of international equities has driven up their valuations -- making the ETF route a little less appealing, and the process of finding superior international stocks trading at great prices a little more difficult.

But if you want an investment strategy that will enrich you for the next decade, you must add superior international stocks to your portfolio in 2007. That's why we recently launched our new Motley Fool Global Gains international investing service, where our goal is to help more American investors earn the great returns that international stocks have to offer.

So if you're getting restless to put your money to work and want to see the stocks Global Gains is recommending today, click here to try the service free for 30 days. There is no obligation to subscribe.

This article was first published on Jan. 10, 2007. It has been updated.

Tim Hanson does not own shares of any company mentioned. Wrigley is a Motley Fool Income Investor recommendation. No Fool is too cool for disclosure.