Top 5 International Mutual Funds (May 2011)

Financial markets abroad have gradually acquired greater prominence and today they account for more than half of the world’s equity market cap. Investors are now aware of this fact and over time a clear preference for international funds has emerged. Emerging market funds are of particular interest because of the untapped potential of these countries as well as their growth performance. International mutual funds are the best way to explore these markets since they have the advantages of expert management, diversification and a disciplined approach.

Below we will share with you 5 top rated international mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as we expect these mutual funds to outperform their peers in the future.

Laudus International MarketMasters (SWOIX) seeks capital growth over the long term. It invests a large proportion of its assets in equity securities of companies located outside the US. The fund invests in companies regardless of their market capitalization. The international mutual fund returned 25.04% in the last one year period.

The international mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $100 and an expense ratio of 1.60% compared to a category average of 1.51%.

Wasatch International Growth (WAIGX) invests a large share of its assets in securities issued by companies located in emerging markets. It invests in a minimum of five countries included in the MSCI AC World Ex-U.S.A. Small Cap index. The international fund has a three year annualized return of 6.93%.

As of March 2011, this international fund held 90 issues, with 2.97% of its total assets invested in Rotork PLC.

Templeton Foreign Small Companies A (FINEX) seeks long term capital appreciation. It invests the majority of its assets in smaller companies located abroad, including those based out of emerging market countries. The companies which it invests in have market capitalizations between $2 billion and $4 billion. The international mutual fund has a ten year annualized return of 8.3%.

Bradley Radin is the fund manager and has managed this international mutual fund since 2007.

Sentinel International Equity A (SWRLX) utilizes at least 75% of its assets to purchase foreign equity securities. Up to 40% of its assets may be invested in a single country. Though the fund focuses on investing in developed nations, up to 20% of its assets may be invested in emerging markets. The international fund has a five year annualized return of 2.32%.

The international fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 1.45% compared to a category average of 1.37%.

Fidelity International Small Cap Opportunities (FSCOX) seeks capital appreciation. The fund primarily invests in foreign securities, including those issued from developing nations. It focuses on investing in companies whose market capitalizations do not exceed $5 billion. The international mutual fund returned 27.05% in the last one year period.

Jed Weiss is the fund manager and has managed this international mutual fund since 2008.

To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all international mutual funds, then click here.

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