If someone asks you when the mutual fund industry truly bounced back, make sure you circled last night on your calendar. That's when Financial Research Corp. reported that JanusCapital Group
If that doesn't sway you, consider that it would be the first month since May 2001 that investors put more money into Janus funds than they took out. That kind of drought is rare in the industry -- but truth be told, Janus earned it.
It alienated accountholders after some despicable fund-manager improprieties. The company did ultimately enter into a $225 million settlement, but it was hard for investors to forgive and forget. Despite the home-run performance of many key funds in the Janus family over the past two years, fund fans weren't buying it.
Janus was doing all the right things. It was aggressively buying back its stock. It recently approved a performance-based fee system, where it would slash its rates and charge more only if the funds were performing well.
It took a while, but Janus is finally back.
The lying, the switch, and the warble
I'm glad to see Janus bounce back. Months before I began buying individual stocks some 15 years ago, I made JanusVenture one of my earliest investment purchases. I ultimately redeemed my shares, but recently, I took a closer look at the fund to see if it was the same electric small-cap fund I'd known in the early 1990s.
The emphasis of the fund hasn't changed much, though there were a few more international investments than I remember it having. That's a good thing these days. Just check out the new International Stock Report that we introduced this week. With so many dynamic markets outperforming our stateside exchanges, sniffing abroad can be a pretty rewarding experience.
One of the largest stock holdings of Janus Venture is EuronetWorldwide
Information on an overseas company, like Submarino, or one doing business primarily overseas, like Euronet, can be hard to come by. It's why buying in through a mutual fund can be a pretty good idea. You're paying a small price to have a proven money manager keeping abreast of the fluctuating fundamentals.
Even though the International Stock Report focuses on individual stocks, there's something there for mutual fund investors, too. The only mutual fund I own at the moment is one that specializes in international small caps. Unfortunately, the OakmarkInternational Small Cap is closed to new investors. However, you can still get into the larger OakmarkInternational Fund.
It owns many globetrotting powerhouses that you may be familiar with, including British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline
Other overseas heavies that make up the 10 largest holdings in Oakmark International include British distiller Diageo
Get packing, my friend
Yes, you can buy into all of these companies through stateside exchanges. All of the 14 recommendations in the International Stock Report can be bought through your American broker for the same commission fees as stateside stocks. Just as Janus has gone full-circle, this may be a good time for you to stamp that passport and check out the various international investing opportunities available to you.
If you want to buy into individual stocks, check out this week's International Stock Report. Editor Stephen Simpson has gathered some of the best stock ideas from the Fool's many analysts. Stephen even let me write about a company I'm particularly fond of that's toiling away at the other end of the world.
However, if you think that you'd prefer to bank on the global markets without buying a few individual stocks, then give the Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter service a spin. There, Shannon Zimmerman has recommended several global and international mutual funds with proven managers and a knack for producing superior returns.
You have two new ways to see the world this week. Try one. Try both. Send me back a postcard!
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes that mutual funds and international stocks belong in any balanced portfolio. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story, except for a stake in the Oakmark International Small Cap mutual fund. Glaxo and Diageo are both Motley Fool Income Investor picks.The Fool has a disclosure policy. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.