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A Solid Start to 2019 for International-Stock Funds

The first quarter of 2019 was much better than the fourth quarter of 2018.

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There has been some volatility along the way, but international-stock funds encountered a much better investment climate in the first quarter of 2019 than they did in 2018. Indeed, investors became more sanguine about the macroeconomic, geopolitical, and corporate conditions around the world in general--and keen on various developments in certain individual markets. The MSCI ACWI ex USA Index rose 9.9% in U.S. dollar terms for the year to date through March 27 after falling 11.5% in the fourth quarter of last year and dropping 14.2% in 2018 overall.

Investment style and currency exposure were not as impactful in the first quarter of 2019 as they often have been in the past. Sure, many technology and other growth stocks performed relatively well, and the MSCI ACWI ex USA Growth Index was up 11.5% versus 8.2% for the MSCI ACWI ex USA Value Index. But the return of the MSCI ACWI ex USA Small Cap Index was only a tad better than that of the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index. And most foreign currencies did not gain or lose a lot of value versus the U.S dollar, so the MSCI ACWI ex USA Index performed quite similarly in local-currency terms and U.S dollar terms.

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William Samuel Rocco does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.