After a surprisingly bad year, international funds—which sank an average of 45% in 2008—could be ripe for big gains later this year, some managers say.

"We think 2009 will be a good year," Gary Motyl, chief investment officer of Templeton Global Equity Group, part of Franklin Resources Inc., told The Wall Street Journal. "You can't have enjoyed the fruits of globalization over the past 10 years and not expect" a downturn. Motyl said international funds are on sale and many are poised for a comeback.

"The market's not differentiating between quality stocks and those that aren't doing well," he said. "It's a great time to look at big, well-capitalized stocks."

Latin American funds suffered the worst drops in 2008, falling 60%. Despite this drop, three-year annualized returns were down just 2.4%.

Other managers see these declines as signs of the end of an era. "The myth of international decoupling has been put to rest," said Uri Landesman, head of global growth at ING Investment Management.

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