The surging US economy and stock market have left international markets behind, with the S&P 500 Index beating the MSCI EAFE Index1 by 7.1% per year for 11 years. But US equities don’t always outperform the rest of the world, and the potential of international equity returns shouldn’t be overlooked. Currently, most investors are under-allocated to international equities and now might be a good time to invest more overseas.
Most investors end up with over-diversified portfolios that are costly and deliver poor performance. The typical asset allocation model and subsequent investment in a group of diversified funds often results in a portfolio of “Global Mush” with literally thousands of tiny positions.
While stocks deliver unpredictable returns in the short-run, stocks are the least risky choice to build wealth over longer time periods. As the investment horizon increases, loss of purchasing power becomes the main risk.
There is mounting concern about geopolitics, interest rates, the economy and the length of the current market expansion. A long-term view can help to put things in perspective and perhaps relieve some anxiety.
Recently, the markets have gotten a lot noisier with the return of volatility and amplified rhetoric around trade concerns and monetary policy. They are not likely to get any quieter with the midterm elections just around the corner. For the average investor it can be overwhelming and hard to know when to be concerned and when to tune out the noise. The market dashboard below shows that, while things may be noisy, there is no indication of an impending economic or market meltdown.
After last year’s tranquil environment, markets experienced a sharp pullback in February and have returned to a more normal level of volatility. As a result, many investors are wondering, where are we now and what’s next? The chart below highlights how recent events compare to the prior 11 corrections.