Emerging markets stocks have gone from satellite to core holding in the past 10 years amid superb long-term performance. Morningstar's diversified emerging markets category of mutual funds returned 13.8% annualized for the 10 years through September 2011.

Latin American stock funds led the way with an 18% annualized return for the period. This is a relatively small category, with about $9 billion of assets spread among 11 mutual funds, but recent developments may lure a larger share of investors' portfolios, despite a recent retrenchment.

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