Spice up your Valentine's Day with more smokin' hot investments.

Single or not, many investors find the color red significant this Valentine's Day. With much of the market wearing the holiday's vibrant color, a glance at your portfolio could make you reach for a box of chocolate to soothe your investing heartache.

With the S&P 500 down more than 8% this year, thanks to the collapses of our debt and bubble-bloated housing markets and heated inflationary pressures, the markets have handed us tough love this year. But don't go breaking up with your portfolio and swearing off stock relationships just yet. Internationally minded investors will realize that the global market is full of tantalizing investment ideas waiting to win you over.

Why flirt with emerging markets? Among other virtues, there's the potential for high growth and greater resilience to downturns in the U.S. economy, all of which translates into years of hot returns. Although skeptics will point out that the U.S. economy still contributes a notable portion of our world's GDP, many international companies are relying less on exports to America than ever before. These populations are rapidly building middle-class societies that allow them to sustain growth internally and interdependently, rather than relying entirely on mature markets.

Much like selecting a valentine, picking stocks isn't about physical appeal on the outside. Sure, past returns of high-profile international stocks such as Baidu.com (Nasdaq: BIDU) and POSCO (NYSE: PKX) turn heads. But many companies boast infrastructure growth that may not look attractive at first glance. However, flirt with them a bit and you'll discover their spicy sides.

Admittedly, telecom companies don't sound glamorous. Yet those lovestruck by high returns will do a double take for Turkcell (NYSE: TKC), Philippine Long Distance Telephone (NYSE: PHI), and TIM Participacoes (NYSE: TSU) with their respective five-year 565%, 1,239%, and 532% returns. While not fully invulnerable to U.S. slowdowns, companies like these, that focus on their own countries' growth, remain strong fundamentally, regardless of what happens domestically.

So on this Valentine's Day -- whether or not you have a smokin' hot date -- flatter your portfolio by leaving a special place in your heart for international stocks.

For more international flavor:

Turkcell is a Global Gains recommendation. Baidu is a Rule Breakers pick, and POSCO is an Income Investor pick. Discover more top-notch international investments and advice with a free, 30-day trial of any newsletter. 

Kristin Graham, a contributing analyst to Global Gains, owns shares of Turkcell, but holds no financial position in any other companies mentioned in this article. The Fool's disclosure policy choo-choo-chooses you.