Part 1 of this series began our search for some of the best emerging-market funds around. Here are three more we've found.
SSgA Emerging Markets (SSEMX)
This State Street fund is jointly managed by Brad Aham and Steven McCarthy, who have been with the fund since 1993 and 1998, respectively. This seasoned duo has experienced numerous bull markets and downturns for emerging-market stocks. They follow a quantitative strategy, focused on blue-chip foreign stocks trading at attractive valuations. This produces a more conservative portfolio, with a greater emphasis on larger foreign stocks, than some of the fund's peers. The SSgA fund is well-diversified, with more than 300 holdings, including top positions in China Mobile
This fund has enjoyed remarkably consistent performance, beating the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in every year since 1996. It has racked up a five-year annualized return of 30.5% through June, and a one-year return of 45.5%. The SSgA fund has lagged some of its peers in more speculative years, such as 1999 and 2003, but that's no surprise, given its more conservative nature. Investing in emerging markets is a risky business, but this fund offers a more stable approach.
Lazard Emerging Markets Fund (LZOEX)
This emerging-market fund has a tendency to differ from the market at times, especially when management avoids pricier fare to focus on more reasonably valued foreign stocks. Although this approach has hurt when the market favors more speculative stocks, this Lazard fund tends to hold up better in downturns.
It's run by a team of five portfolio managers, one of whom has been with the fund since 1994. The others are newer additions, joining in 2001, 2003, and in the case of its two newest managers, just a few months ago.
The Lazard Emerging Markets Fund maintains a rather diversified portfolio. Its 87 holdings include top picks Kookmin Bank
Performance has been favorable, with a five-year annualized return topping 32% through June. With the exception of 1999 and 2006, when the market favored pricier foreign stocks, this fund has regularly landed at the top of its peer group. All in all, it's a solid performer, and a good choice for investors seeking a value-conscious emerging-market fund.
T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock (PRMSX)
The T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock Fund is the only one of our candidates in the growth corner of Morningstar's style box. It looks for steadily growing companies that will benefit from the economic trends occurring in their home countries. Three of its four co-managers have been with the fund since 1995, and one since 2004, providing a pretty deep bench of talent.
Right now, the fund is a bit heavy in financial services, representing nearly a quarter of fund assets. Currently, Taiwan (12%), South Korea (12%) and Brazil (11%) make up the its largest country weightings. The fund boasts top-notch performance, including an eye-popping 87% return in 1999, thanks to its growth leanings. More impressively, it still managed to top the MSCI Emerging Markets Index in years when growth stocks took a beating. The fund's five-year 31% annualized return and 51% one-year return highlight its performance strengths, making this fund a worthy choice for emerging-market investors everywhere.
Stick around! In Part 3 of this series, we'll wrap up our look at the best emerging-market funds.
Further globetrotting Foolishness:
- The Coming Emerging Markets Disaster
- Emerging Opportunities in Emerging Markets
- Emerging Markets ETFs: A Sampler
Fool contributor Amanda Kish lives in Rochester, N.Y., and does not own shares of any of the companies or funds mentioned herein. China Mobile is a Global Gains pick. The Fool's disclosure policy will be both your bodyguard and your long-lost pal, but it draws the line at calling you "Al."