A new study in the Financial Analysts Journal finds that investors can improve returns by buying international equities based on where they do most of their business rather than where they are headquartered. This according to a recent Wall Street Journal article by Jason Zweig.
Zweig offers several examples including Infosys, the second-largest holding company in many India funds, which does “more than 60% of its total sales in North America and only 3% in its home country.” He cites comments by Murray Stahl, chairman of investment firm Horizon Kinetics, who says, “Decades ago, more companies did the bulk of their business within their own national boundaries. But globalization has de-territorialized a lot of companies.”
According to Zweig, many investors are buying “global giants” like Coca-Cola, Nestle and others to “capture a cut of their sales from emerging markets.” New York-based firm Advance Portfolio Management has launched a strategy for their institutional clients that will invest in Indian companies that concentrate their business within their borders.
Zweig points out that “over time, however, the potential extra gain from a basket of local companies around the world isn’t likely to be great” and that buying purely domestic companies is “probably best suited for trading on geopolitical events or the growth prospects of a specific country. But it’s not worth overhauling your whole portfolio for.”