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Which Country Will Outperform? Here’s Why It Shouldn’t Matter

January 27, 2023

Investment opportunities exist all around the globe, but the randomness of global stock returns makes it exceedingly difficult to figure out which markets are likely to be outperformers. How should investors deal with this kind of uncertainty?

First, they should remember that it’s challenging, at best, to predict a country’s returns by looking at the past, as shown by the performance of global markets since 2001 (see Exhibit 1). In the past 20 years, annual returns in 22 developed markets varied widely from year to year. (Each color represents a different country, and each column is sorted
top-down, from the highest-performing country to the lowest.)

Two examples help make the point well:
• Austria posted the highest developed markets return in 2017—but the lowest the next year.
• The US ranked in the top five for annualized returns over the entire 20 years but finished first in the country rankings just once over that period. In nine calendar years, it was in the lower half of performers.

Investors can benefit from understanding that they don’t need to predict which countries will deliver the best returns during the next quarter, next year, or the next five years. Why? Holding equities from markets around the world—as opposed to those of a few countries or just one—positions investors to potentially capture higher returns where they appear, and outperformance in one market can help offset lower returns elsewhere. Put another way, a globally diversified portfolio can help provide more reliable outcomes over time.

Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investment products: • Not FDIC Insured • Not Bank Guaranteed • May Lose Value Dimensional Fund Advisors does not have any bank affiliates.


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Recent Posts
Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities

Despite not being as well known as some other retirement tools, annuities account for 6.5% ...

See more
According to Young Investors, Progress Toward Goals Matters Most

Younger and older investors are likely to have different preferences in music, movies, and fashion. ...

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Guiding Your Aging Parents Through Life’s Next Chapter: A Strategic Overview

In today’s aging society, many families face the responsibility of caring for elderly parents. This ...

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