Top 5 Popular and Best International Stock Mutual funds plus Vanguard

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With USA economy is cooling down or at least is slow down, everyone will look at growing sector or market to invest. One of these markets is International stock sector. International sector usually includes most developed countries in Canada, Europe (UK, Germany, France), and Pacific Asia (including Japan). Investing in international sector should be part of your diversification strategy. International nowadays has about 55% of major economy in the world. The international stock mutual funds can be more volatile (i.e. can move more up or down) compare to most domestic mutual funds, so please invest responsibly. Mutuals fund can be classified into 2 categories such as bond mutual funds (taxable and municipal) and stock mutual funds. As we know, the stock mutual fund can be classified as Domestic Stock, International Stock and Emerging Market.

I think investing in international company should be part of your investment portfolio whether it is in your 401k retirement or brokerage account. The question is how to invest in International company equity; there are two easy ways to invest such as using ETF and Mutual Funds. The following article will discuss about Top 5 mutual funds in International Equity.

The following is top 5 International stock mutual funds plus 1 in term of asset according to MorningStar. What I like is usually big asset is equal to big confident by investor or institutional money to invest in this fund. I also like most of these asset managers as they are well known to many investors. Looking at this list, you will find 2 American Funds mutual funds on this top 6 list.

  1. American Funds Europacific Growth, AEPGX
  2. American Funds Capital World G/I, CWGIX
  3. Dodge & Cox International, DODFX
  4. Fidelity Diversified International, FDIVX
  5. Harbor International, HIINX
  6. Vanguard Total International Stock Index, VGTSX

Note: I didn’t include any emerging market sector in this list, you can check my Top 5 Emerging Market Stock Mutual Funds from my previous article.

Top 5 International Stock Mutual Funds

(click column header to sort results)
No  
Mutual Funds Description  
Ticker  
Expense ratio  
Morningstar Rating  
Total Asset (Bil)  
Min Invest  
1 yr  
3 yr  
5 yr  
10 yr  
1
American Funds Europacific Growth
AEPGX
0.85%
5
103
$250
0.88%
-6.50%
4.61%
4.65%
2
American Funds Capital World G/I
CWGIX
0.83%
4
79
$250
0.49%
-7.59%
3.44%
6.68%
3
Dodge & Cox International
DODFX
0.65%
4
40
$2,500
7.55%
-6.30%
4.37%
N/A
4
Fidelity Diversified International
FDIVX
1.01%
4
34
$2,500
4.67%
-10.03%
1.80%
4.81%
5
Harbor International
HIINX
1.20%
5
30
$2,500
8.70%
-6.38%
6.59%
7.81%
6
Vanguard Total International Stock Index
VGTSX
0.27%
4
28
$3,000
7.03%
-7.83%
3.89%
4.01%
Table Comparison of International Stock Mutual Fund
Europacific holding
Europacific holding

1. American Funds Europacific Growth, AEPGX

American Funds family is very famous in various 401k accounts and compare to other international stock mutual fund EuroPacific Growth has almost double or triple from other competitor mutual funds. This fund is part of actively managed mutual funds. The fund’s investment objective is to provide long-term growth of capital. The fund invests primarily in common stocks of issuers in Europe and the Pacific Basin that the investment adviser believes have the potential for growth. It normally invests at least 80% of net assets in securities of issuers in Europe and the Pacific Basin. If you choose this fund, please note that some fund classes have a front end sales load of 5.75%. The fund is managed by a lead manager, Stephen E. Bepler as well as portfolio counselors since 1984.

The fund performance annualized average return without sales charge is as follows (AEPGX):

1 Year: 7.04% per year

3 Year: -4.63% per year

5 Year: 5.86% per year

10 Year: 5.27% per year

This fund is also offered in most IRA, 401K fund selection. In my 401k account, I can choose American Europacific Fund with REREX ticker. There is no front end load for this fund class, the total expense ratio is 0.86% and Max 12b1 fee is 0.25%. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee. Other tickers of American Europacific Growth fund are: CEUAX, CEUBX, CEUCX, AEGBX, AEPCX, CEUEX, CEUFX, AEGFX, RERGX, AEPFX, RERCX, RERFX, RERAX, REREX, and RERBX.

The primary portfolio consists of large cap foreign growth stocks. As of August 2010, the top 3 sectors of fund as August 2010 are Financial, Healthcare and Energy sector. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include America Movil,Anheuser-Busch InBev, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Bayer, UBS, Daimler, Nestle, Roche, and Softbank.


Capital World G/I holdings
Capital World G/I holdings

Top 5 Highest Rating International Stock Mutual Funds according to US News:

  1. Royce Global Select Fund, RSFTX
  2. Dreyfus International Stock Fund, DISAX
  3. Tweedy Browne Global Value Fund, TBGVX
  4. Lazard International Strategic Equity Portfolio, LISIX
  5. Harding Loevner International Equity Fund, HLMIX

 

2. American Funds Capital World G/I, CWGIX

Another American Funds is on top of this list. American Funds Capital World Growth and Income Fund is known for its slow and steady growth. The fund has focus on long-term capital growth and is providing income through consistent dividend since its 1993 inception. It has low expenses and volatility compare to other international stock mutual funds. The management is also very experience in investing in world stock. The fund's main strategy involves buying established companies with strong market positions and large cash flows around the world. It may also invest in government and corporate bonds. If you choose this fund, please note that some fund classes have a front end sales load of 5.75%. The fund is managed by a lead manager, Stephen E. Bepler as well as portfolio counselors since 1993.

This fund is also offered in most IRA, 401K fund, and 529 account selection. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee, and no front end sales charge fee. Other tickers of American Funds Capital World G/I are: CWIAX, CWIBX, CWICX, CWGBX, CWGCX, RWIGX, CWIEX, CWGFX, CWIFX, WGIFX, RWIAX, RWIFX, RWIFX, RWIEX, and RWICX. For instance, RWIGX has only 0.49% expense ratio and no front end sales load. The expense ratio of different classes of fund can range from 0.49% to 1.69%.

The primary portfolio consists of large cap foreign growth stocks. As of September 2010, the top 3 sectors of fund are Financial, Healthcare and Energy sector. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund includeBayer, Microsoft, Banco Santander, Novartis, AT&T, GDF Suez, Philip Morris International, BP, America Movil and Merck.


Dodge & Cox International Holdings
Dodge & Cox International Holdings

3. Dodge & Cox International, DODFX

I remembered Dodge & Cox International is at top of best mutual fund list on many magazines during 2007-2008. I’m not surprise to see this mutual fund in this list as well. The Fund invests primarily in a diversified portfolio of equity securities issued by non-U.S. companies from at least three different foreign countries such as emerging markets. The Fund invests primarily in medium-to-large well established companies based on standards of the applicable market. It also has a small investment in China. While a newcomer in international sector mutual funds since its May 2001 inception, Dodge & Cox International has been a strong performer. The fund has returned 4.37 percent over the last five years. The fund is managed by a lead manager, Diana A. Strandberg, since 2001.

There is no other ticker or classes for Dodge & Cox International. The DODFX ticker has an expense ratio of 0.65% and there is no front end sales load. Compare to other international stock, the expense ratio is low.

The primary portfolio consists of large cap foreign blend stocks. As of October 2010, the top 5 International sectors of fund are Europe (Except UK), United Kingdom (UK), Japan, Africa/Middle East and Pacific (except Japan). The top 3 sectors diversification is Financials (22.7%), Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Naspers (South Africa), Vodafone Groups (UK), Novartis (Switzerland), GlaxoSmithKline (UK), Bayer AG (Germany), Schneider Electric SA (France), HSBC Holdings (UK), Roche Holding AG (Switzerland) and Nokia Oyj (Finland).


Fidelity Diversified International Preview
Fidelity Diversified International Preview

4. Fidelity Diversified International, FDIVX

Fidelity Diversified International invests in a wide-ranging mix of stocks from countries throughout the world. The fund, which reopened to new investors in 2009, offers a stable, global alternative to funds that invest solely in U.S. companies. Its portfolio consists primarily of large-cap stocks of companies based outside the United States, mainly in Britain, Western Europe, and Japan. It currently holds nearly 300 stocks, so it is very diversified. It maintains fairly large holdings in financial companies throughout the world, including banking companies in Britain and Switzerland, and it also holds sizable investments in energy companies like Shell. The lead manager is William Bower since 2001. There is no front end sales load & is part of No Transaction Fee fund. The expense ratio is 1.01% for this class (FDIVX). It is currently a Fidelity Fund Pick.

This fund is also offered in most IRA, 401K fund, and 529 account selection. Some asset classes of fund have lower expense ratio fee. Other tickers of Fidelity Diversified International are: FDVFX, and FDIKX. For instance, FDVFX has only 0.70% expense ratio. The expense ratio of different fund classes can range from 0.70% to 1.01%.

The primary portfolio of Fidelity Diversified International fund consists of large cap foreign blend stocks. As of October 2010, the top 5 International sectors of fund are United Kingdom (UK), Japan, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The top 3 sectors diversification is Financials, Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Nestle, HSBC Holding, Vodafone, BHP Billiton LTD, Banco Santander, Royal Dutch Shell, Novo-Nordisk, Mitsubishi UFJ financial Group, and Softbank Corp.


Harbor International Complete Holdings
Harbor International Complete Holdings

5. Harbor International Fund, HIINX

The Harbor International fund investment seeks long-term total return of capital growth. The fund invests primarily (no less than 65% of total assets) in common and preferred stocks of foreign companies that have market capitalizations in excess of $1 billion, including those located in emerging market countries. It invests in a minimum of 10 countries throughout the world. The fund focuses on companies located in Europe, the Pacific Basin and emerging industrialized countries whose has stable economies and political regimes. The fund is managed by Hakan E. Castegren since its inception on 1987. There is no front end sales load for this mutual fund. The Harbor International Fund (HIINX) has 1.20% expense ratio and 0.25% Max 12b1 fee.

There are two other fund classes for this Harbor International fund such as HAINX and HRINX. These fund classes are mostly for institutional investor and may be offered in IRA or 401k account etc. The expense ratio is as follows HAINX (0.80%) and HRINX (1.09%)

The primary portfolio consists of large cap foreign blend stocks. As of October 2010, the top 5 International sectors of fund are France, United Kingdom (UK), Switzerland, Brazil and Sweden. The top 3 sectors diversification is Financials, Consumer Discretionary and Industrials. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Novo Nordisk, Atlas Copco AB, Banco Bradesco SA, British American Tobacco, Petroleo Brasileiro, Itau Unibanco Holding, Nestle, Linde AG, BNP Paribas, and Compagnie Financiere Richemont.


6. Vanguard Total International Stock Index, VGTSX

You might have asked why I include another mutual fund in this list. The reason is I like Vanguard mutual funds. Vanguard mutual fund usually has the lowest expense ratio in industry and this fund is a passive mutual fund. The Vanguard Total International Stock investment seeks to track the performance of a benchmark index that measures the investment return of stocks issued by companies located in Europe, the Pacific region, and emerging markets countries. The Fund employs a "passive management" investment approach designed to track the performance of the Total International Composite Index, which includes the MSCI Europe Index, the MSCI Pacific Index, and the MSCI Emerging Market Index. It invests substantially all assets in the common stocks included in its target index, while employing a form of sampling to reduce risk. The fund is passively managed by Michael Perre since 2008.

There is no other ticker or classes for Vanguard Total International Stock. The VGTSX ticker has an expense ratio of 0.27% and there is no front end sales load. Compare to other international stock, the expense ratio is low.

The primary portfolio consists of large cap foreign blend stocks. As of October 2010, the top 5 International sectors of fund are United Kingdom (UK), Japan, France, Australia and Germany. Top 10 largest equity holdings for this fund include Nestle, HSBC Holdings, BP, BHP Billiton, Novartis AG, Total SA, Banco Santander SA, Telefonica SA, and GlaxoSmithKline PLC.


Where can I purchase these mutual funds?

Usually you will need mutual fund providers as well as brokerage or retirement account (401k account) to buy these mutual funds. Please check the following brokerage/ providers:

  1. Fidelity – one stop shop for mutual fund or ETF as well as cash management banking
  2. Vanguard – offer various mutual funds that track indexes as well as ETF for free
  3. T. Rowe Price – only offer their fund
  4. Scottrade – Offer various mutual funds. 3,000 No load & No Transaction Fees (NTF) fund for free and 15,000 mutual funds as well as trading account for $7.00 per trade. You can buy the American Fund family for free and please select no load fund.
  5. Etrade – Offer various mutual funds as well as trading account

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of these mutual funds. I also have a small position in American Funds Europacific Growth in my 401k account. Please do your own research for additional details. Please trade and invest responsibly. Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Results

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Comments 7 comments

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

You give the Best Advice i have seen. I love the way you caution people to do their own homework, and make smart decisions when investing in markets. Way to go! Voted Up! shared


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 5 years ago from Camarillo, CA Author

Thanks Wesman Todd Shaw! I'm glad you like my article. Please check my other mutual funds article. And more to come as always!


onceuponatime66 profile image

onceuponatime66 5 years ago from USA IL

How do I post a "table" into a hub? I am new and enjoyed all of this and the nice table charts.


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 5 years ago from Camarillo, CA Author

onceuponatime66,

you can use the table module when you create your hub. Or try to edit your old hub and add Table module into your article. The next thing is to add the content to your table. You can do this in 2 ways. First, by typing the info manually into the table module. Second, you can just add your table content from your excel file (need to use CSV file). The table module will populate your info using your file. Hope this help.


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 5 years ago from Camarillo, CA Author

Davidwillium,

You're welcome. Thanks for stopping by.


onceuponatime66 profile image

onceuponatime66 5 years ago from USA IL

I am so glad you explained this. I will have to try it. I am keeping this for using it. How helpful.


chan0512 profile image

chan0512 5 years ago from Camarillo, CA Author

onceuponatime66,

Thanks for your kind words. Glad to help fellow hubber. All the best. Let me know if you have nay other questions.

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