Advertisement
Foreign Stocks & Emerging Markets

3 Mutual Funds to Earn 3% to 5% in Foreign Bonds

With slow growth in Japan and Western Europe keeping rates there low, U.S. investors will need to look to emerging markets for real yield.

Foreign bonds have been a poor option over the past five years. The average annualized five-year total return on world bond funds is a paltry 1.2%. That partly reflects government bond yields in Japan and Western Europe that are far below U.S. yields, as rates there remain low amid slower economic growth. A 10-year U.S. Treasury note recently yielded nearly 3%. By contrast, 10-year government bonds yield a mere 0.06% in Japan, 0.6% in Germany and 1.3% in Spain.

Advertisement - Article continues below

But for income-focused U.S. investors willing to take some risk, emerging-markets bonds offer generous yields–typically between 4% and 5%. They could log price gains if global growth continues to bolster emerging economies. Our favorite foreign-bond strategy: Own a mix of issues in both developed and emerging markets.

The risks: American investors in U.S. bonds can be hurt by fluctuating market interest rates and by defaults by bond issuers. Foreign bonds issued in foreign currencies face those risks, plus a third: swings in the value of the dollar compared with other currencies. In 2017, the dollar fell against most currencies, which boosted returns on many foreign bond funds (when the buck weakens, investments in foreign currencies translate into more dollars). A sudden rally in the dollar would have the opposite effect.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

How to invest: We like T. Rowe Price Global Multi-Sector Bond (PRSNX, 3.4%), with a duration of 5.7. It holds government and corporate bonds in emerging and developed markets (including the U.S.). Its diversified mix recently included debt from issuers such as India, Thailand and Turkey. Dodge & Cox Global Bond (DODLX, 3.8%) has a relatively short duration of 3.3, with holdings split about evenly between U.S. bonds and foreign bonds. Over the past three years, both funds have gained 3.6% annualized, compared with 2.5% for the average world bond fund.

Among funds that focus solely on emerging markets, Fidelity New Markets Income (FNMIX, 4.6%), a Kip 25 member, remains a standout. The fund, with a duration of 6.6, limits currency risk by investing mainly in foreign bonds issued in dollars.

Advertisement

Most Popular

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)
tax deadline

12 Tax Deadlines for July 15 (It's Not Just the Due Date for Your Tax Return)

Between due dates for IRA or HSA contributions, paying estimated taxes and other deadlines, there's more to do by July 15 than just filing your federa…
July 10, 2020
Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider
credit & debt

Know Why Your Credit Score Changes: 9 Money Moves to Consider

Your credit score is a key indicator of your financial well-being and of the risk you pose to lenders. How good is yours?
July 10, 2020
65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On
stocks

65 Best Dividend Stocks You Can Count On

These 65 Dividend Aristocrats are an elite group of dividend stocks that have reliably increased their annual payouts every year for at least a quarte…
July 8, 2020

Recommended

Closing Bell 7/13/20: This Is Your Market on (Coronavirus) Drugs
Markets

Closing Bell 7/13/20: This Is Your Market on (Coronavirus) Drugs

A rapid rally to start the week, sparked by encouraging vaccine news from Pfizer and BioNTech, collapsed in the afternoon.
July 13, 2020
Closing Bell 7/10/20: Gilead Gives Stocks a Booster Shot
Markets

Closing Bell 7/10/20: Gilead Gives Stocks a Booster Shot

Stocks rallied out of negative territory Friday after Gilead announced that remdesivir helped reduce COVID-19 mortality risk in a clinical trial.
July 10, 2020
2020 Stock Market Holidays and Bond Market Holidays
Markets

2020 Stock Market Holidays and Bond Market Holidays

Is the market open today? Take a look at which holidays the stock markets and bond markets take off in 2020.
July 10, 2020
Closing Bell 7/9/20: Another Split Market as Jobs Concerns Grow
Markets

Closing Bell 7/9/20: Another Split Market as Jobs Concerns Grow

A mounting list of planned playoffs weighs on stocks Thursday, though Big Tech manages to hoist the Nasdaq up to another record high.
July 9, 2020