Emerging markets stocks have been on a tear the past year, returning 24.8% as measured by the equities-based Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF. The 20 best-performing funds in this class averaged 33% over the period; the top fund surged more than 40%. The three-year average of these 20 funds was much more-down-to earth, but still high, at 10.3%.
Beyond ever-present concerns about the party ending abruptly, more recently, many advisors and clients fret that President Trump’s call for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could lead to a trade war that will will depress global investing.
Indeed, the Vanguard FTSE EM ETF is up 3.3% year-to-date, but incurred a loss of 3.4% for the past week. Shorter timeframes are usually less meaningful, but in this case, could reflect a turning point in emerging markets.
The president’s threat to initiate a trade war could rein in, or even reverse, global growth, says Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst for Bankrate. It’s hard to construct a scenario that’s positive for the investment markets unless the threats evaporate and nothing actually happens, he adds.
Taking a longer view, Hamrick notes that emerging markets have had a good run in recent years after severe pullbacks a decade ago.
Scroll through to see the 20 best-performing emerging markets equity funds for the past year. There is also data on each fund’s three-year returns, expense ratios and total assets. Funds with less than $100 million in assets were excluded. All data from Morningstar Direct.