Category: International stocks

This article is the third part of a study looking at global and domestic investing from the perspective of local investors.
In Part 1 and Part 2, we took the position of a local investor in one of 16 countries of interest and we explored opposite positions of either investing 100% global or 100% domestic. In Part 2, it became clear that global bonds tend to hurt local investors, while global stocks definitely helped for most scenarios. It is now time to try a middle ground and study portfolios mixing global and domestic stock investments. We will notably look at the mitigation this could bring to the countries having fared the worst, but also consequences for countries having fared better. Of course, it is easy to look at such numbers in hindsight and draw hasty conclusions, so let’s keep in mind that nobody could have predicted winners and losers ahead of time.

Many North American investors tend to look carefully at historical returns in the US and in Canada and draw various conclusions. Occasionally, some references are made to Japan and the UK, but few people look any further. The world changes though. The UK was undoubtedly the world economic leader at the end of the 19th century, while the US clearly dominates nowadays. Japan was on a roll in the 80s, with a bigger market capitalization than the US at some point, and yet badly faltered since then. The world changes in ways we cannot predict and it would be naive to assume that a few decades in the future, the situation will be similar to today’s environment. One thing we can do to get some perspective is to analyze what happened in a larger sample of economies.

This article focuses on the historical returns from 16 developed countries over the past 50 years, looking from the perspective of a local investor and assuming a strong home country bias to begin with (i.e. solely using domestic stocks and domestic bonds). We will look at more diversified portfolios mixing domestic and global investments in Part 3.

Bogleheads know the power of diversification. And yet many such investors (including John Bogle himself!) are reluctant to diversify beyond domestic investments.

This raises an interesting question. Could one simply invest in the world, using global stocks and global bonds? And if this proves unsatisfying, is there a proper middle ground between domestic and global allocations?

This article is the first part of a study looking at global and domestic investing from the perspective of local investors.

This article provides updated Telltale charts, including returns up to 2019. It analyzes the relative past performance of value and size factors compared to the total US market, as well as studying international and real estate market segments.
Using Telltale charts can be very informative, truly ‘telling the tale’ of what happened over time to portfolio trajectories, illustrating return to the mean properties or lack thereof.

Vanguard issues annual reports for the firm’s international and global index funds on October 31 of each year.[1] The reports provide information that can highlight some of the underlying conditions affecting a fund’s future capital gains distribution outlook; an indication …

Under the hood – Vanguard international index funds in 2019 Read More »

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Vanguard issues annual reports for the firm’s international and global index funds on October 31 of each year. The reports provide information that can highlight some of the underlying conditions affecting a fund’s future capital gains distribution outlook; an indication …

Under the hood – Vanguard international index funds in 2018 Read More »

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A previous blog article explored income-centric risk and reward definitions, more suitable to retirement than the usual academic definitions. Corresponding quantitative analysis of some simple US portfolios was provided.
This article extends this investigation by taking the perspective of investors located in various developed countries (a form of ‘out of sample’ testing).

This article provides updated Telltale charts, including 2017 returns. It focuses on the relative past performance of value and size factors compared to the total US market, as well as studying international and real estate funds. 
Using Telltale charts can be very informative, truly ‘telling the tale’ of what happened over time to portfolio trajectories, illustrating return to the mean properties, or lack thereof.

Vanguard issues annual reports for the firm’s international and global index funds on October 31 of each year. The reports provide information that can highlight some of the underlying conditions affecting a fund’s future capital gains distribution outlook; an indication …

Under the hood – Vanguard international index funds in 2017 Read More »

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Vanguard and others have put a lot of emphasis on bonds diversification using international bonds in recent years, while the Bogleheads community mostly shrugged. This article studies the effect of such diversification through backtesting techniques, looking at both regular International bonds and Emerging Market bonds. We’ll take a close look by studying monthly returns to better analyze the volatility and correlation properties of various portfolios. Then we’ll perform a similar study about diversification of equities with domestic, global or international real estate funds.