Emerging markets have been stealing the headlines lately, and it's easy to see why. Over the last five years, stocks in developing countries were up 12.9% annually, while domestic stocks, at least as measured by the S&P 500, gained only 2.3% as of Dec. 31.

More important for investors, the growth rates of emerging markets surged ahead of mature economies. China's gross domestic product grew by 10.3% in 2010, while Brazil clocked in at a 7.5% rate. The United States, meanwhile, turned in a tepid 2.7% rate, while the European Union's GDP increased by an even more paltry 1.7%.

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