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Mutual Funds

Overseas Outlook

The credit crisis barely touched the likes of China, India, Indonesia and Brazil. Bank of America Merrill Lynch thinks emerging economies will expand by 6% in 2010 (8% in Asia), or more than twice what it expects for developed nations. However, foreign stocks -- especially emerging-markets shares, which soared 69% in 2009 through November 6 -- are unlikely to continue their remarkable ascent.

Because growth in Europe and Japan is anemic, Sarah Ketterer, co-manager of Causeway International Value, likes firms with strong positions in developing countries. Her plays on this theme include British American Tobacco (symbol BTI), Siemens (SI) of Germany and Japanese robotics king Fanuc (which doesn’t trade in the U.S.). “Exposure to China and other emerging markets is more important than ever before,” says Ketterer.

Among emerging-markets stocks themselves, investors are searching for local beneficiaries of rising domestic consumption. Says Simon Hallett, manager of Harding Loevner Emerging Markets fund: “The big story of the next ten years will be more savings in the developed world, and less savings and greater consumer spending in the emerging markets.”

Robert Horrocks, co-manager of Matthews Asian Growth & Income, says this theme will certainly play out in the part of the world he follows. He assumes, for instance, that sluggish demand in the developed world will knock two percentage points off China’s economic growth. Under pressure to maintain growth of at least 7%, the Chinese government will work to stimulate domestic demand.

If you prefer funds, you can invest abroad through such stalwarts as Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX) and T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets Stock (PRMSX), both members of the Kiplinger 25.