With US stocks outperforming non-US stocks in recent years, some investors have again turned their attention toward the role that global diversification plays in their portfolios. For the five-year period ending March 31, 2020, the S&P 500 Index had an annualized return of 6.73%, while the MSCI World ex USA Index lost 0.76% and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index declined by 0.37%. As US stocks have outperformed international and emerging markets stocks over the last several years, some investors might be reconsidering the benefits of investing outside the US.

While there are many reasons why a US-based investor may prefer a degree of home bias in their equity allocation, using return differences over a relatively short period as the sole input into this decision may result in missing opportunities that the global markets offer. While international and emerging markets stocks have delivered disappointing returns relative to the US over the last few years, it is important to remember that:

  • Non-US stocks help provide valuable diversification benefits.
  • Recent performance is not a reliable indicator of future returns.

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