Top 5 International Mutual Funds (July 2011)

Adding a small amount of international flavor to a portfolio can go a long way to increase returns without significantly raising the associated risk. Mutual funds focusing on foreign markets diversify their portfolios by investing in both mature and developing markets. Emerging markets are of special interest since they provide appreciably higher growth than developed countries. Mutual funds are the optimal route for investors to chart international waters since they provide access to a diversified, professionally managed portfolio at a low cost.

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.

Ivy International Growth A (IVINX) invests a large share of its assets in common stocks of companies located outside the U.S. It selects firms for investment on the basis of their potential for long term growth and focuses on companies from developed countries. The international mutual fund has a five year annualized return of 4.36%.

F. Chace Brundige is the fund manager and has managed this international mutual fund since 2009.

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 37.29% 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 1.50%.

Dreyfus International Equity A (DIEAX) invests a large proportion of its assets in equity securities of companies located outside the U.S. These stocks must be part of the Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East (EAFE) Index and Canada. The international mutual fund has a ten year annualized return of 6.08%.

As of May 2011, this international mutual fund held 95 issues, with 3.40% of its total assets invested in Royal Dutch Shell PLC B.

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 three year annualized return of 3.98%.

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

Vanguard International Explorer (VINEX) invests a large proportion of its assets in growth oriented small cap companies located abroad. Equity securities constitute the majority of its investments and the fund utilizes the services of more than one investment advisor. The international mutual fund returned 38.12% in the last one year period.

The international mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $3,000 and an expense ratio of 0.39% compared to a category average of 1.63%.

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

About Zacks Mutual Fund Rank

By applying the Zacks Rank to mutual funds, investors can find funds that not only outpaced the market in the past but are also expected to outperform going forward. Learn more about the Zacks Mutual Fund Rank at http://www.zacks.com/funds.

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