• English
  • 简体中文
  • 繁體中文
  • Tiếng Việt
  • ไทย
  • Indonesia

10 Best International ETFs to Buy in 2022

Daniel Rogers

Jul 15, 2022 16:03

截屏2022-07-15 下午4.03.01.png 


The majority of investors prefer investing in indigenous enterprises. After all, everything you have read has instructed you to invest in what you know, and unless you have studied overseas markets, you are more comfortable investing in the stocks of firms that supply items and services you use.


As you accumulate money and investigate new prospects, you will undoubtedly encounter information regarding overseas stocks that piques your curiosity. These stocks are often not household names in the United States but trade on stock exchanges worldwide.


Due to the volatility of global markets, a substantial study is required to select the most excellent chances on an individual stock basis. Investing in exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, allows you to acquire worldwide market exposure with far less research. In addition, overseas funds offer a high level of diversity, shielding your whole portfolio from substantial reductions if one or two of the fund's companies perform poorly.

What Are ETFs?

Today, individuals seeking to invest their funds have a bewildering choice of possibilities. Investors may purchase individual stocks, options, futures, and even CFDs. However, the most fantastic method to diversify a portfolio is through an index or international ETF.


ETFs are generally passively managed funds that hold a collection or basket of equities. Actively managed ETFs are uncommon and cost more. You can purchase ETFs via your advisor or through your brokerage account.


Commonly, index ETFs are referred to as "Low-Cost Index Funds." Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab provide the most popular index funds in the United States. Typically, these Index ETFs track an index such as the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, or Nasdaq. In addition, index funds typically hold shares of each firm included in the index. Instead of purchasing 500 individual S&P 500 firms, investors might purchase an ETF such as VOO.


However, international ETFs mimic and follow the performance of numerous indexes in a particular area, country, or continent. For instance, investors wanting diversity in China may purchase an ETF that follows the Shanghai market.

How Do ETFs Work?

The ETF issuer purchases shares of all underlying stocks, such as Vanguard, Charles Schwab, iShares, or Fidelity. In the preceding illustration, a fund that imitates the S&P 500 purchases shares in all 500 businesses, weighted identically to the index. In this manner, the fund mirrors the benchmark index nearly perfectly.


Then, investors purchase and sell fund shares on public stock markets. Continuing with the example, if investors drive down the share prices of individual firms in the S&P, the index's value falls, and the same downward effect prompts investors to sell shares in the ETF that holds those particular companies.


Notably, these funds are not directly linked to the index: a loss in the S&P 500 does not automatically lead the price of ETFs that mirror it to fall by the same proportion. However, the same market forces drive both. Thus even though they do not march in lockstep, they move in tandem.


Ultimately, the price of these funds is determined by how much investors are ready to pay for shares. Which, in turn, is dependent on the value of the funds' assets.

Types of ETFs

Almost every purpose and asset type has a corresponding ETF. The most prevalent varieties include:

  • Long ETFs (Typical Index Funds). These contracts take a "long position" on the underlying stock market index. Index funds usually own shares of firms in the same weighted proportions as the corresponding index. If the index increases, so do the share prices of long ETFs by about the same amount, with fewer fees and trading costs.

  • Inverse ETFs. In contrast to long ETFs, they take short bets on the index they track. The prices of shares and ETF shares fluctuate oppositely. Consider them to wager against the market: if the index falls in value, you win. Short selling is inherently riskier for reasons that will be discussed later.

  • ETFs for commodities and precious metals. These ETFs invest in various commodities, precious metals, or a mix of both. A gold-investing ETF, for example, may contain gold stocks or claims on actual gold bullion held in trust by a custodian. Additionally, you may purchase ETFs that offer broader exposure to numerous precious metals or commodities. Typically, the shares of commodities ETFs fluctuate closely with the underlying commodity's price.

  • Sector ETFs. These ETFs hold a portfolio of equities that reflect a particular industry, such as energy and oil, technology, mining, transportation, healthcare, etc.

  • Country or region-based ETFs These investments purchase stock in firms representing a cross-section of industries in a particular nation. For example, they may own shares in the 50 most extensive publicly listed stocks in a particular nation, as measured by market capitalization. Additionally, you may purchase regional ETFs that focus on entire continents.

  • Leveraged ETFs. Leveraged funds utilize borrowed capital to "gear up" their holdings, amplifying returns. Naturally, this raises the risk as well. For example, a leveraged S&P 500 ETF will try to double the index's returns after expenses and interest. You may also purchase leveraged inverse ETFs, but their absence of loss limitations increases their risk.

  • Currency ETFs These securities attempt to profit from foreign currency volatility and economic expansion.

  • Bond-based ETFs. Similar to stock ETFs, but with a portfolio of bonds rather than stocks.

10 Best International ETFs Every Trader Should Consider

1. Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 

According to total assets, the iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF is the second-largest U.S.-listed foreign fund after the Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA, $51.97) (IEFA).


The FTSE Developed All Cap ex US Index, which includes companies of all sizes from Canada, Europe, and the Pacific area, is what VEA adheres to. Currently, the ETF has 4,048 equities, with 53.9% from Europe, 36.3% from the Pacific, and the remaining from North America and other regions.


This Vanguard fund has a median market capitalization of $36.5 billion, about $4 billion greater than SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) at $31.4 billion. Therefore, although it is an all-cap ETF, you still receive many significant firms to reduce your total risk. Large and mega-cap stocks account for around 76 percent of the portfolio, followed by mid-caps at 19.2 percent and small-caps at the remainder.


VEA is not only diversified throughout more than 24 countries – Japan (20.6%), the United Kingdom (13%), and Canada (9.1%) have the most extraordinary country weightings – but also over a considerable number of equities. The worldwide ETF's top 10 holdings represent only 10.3 percent of its $103 billion in total net assets. VEA has had an annualized total return of 6.7% over the past decade.

2. SPDR Portfolio Europe ETF (SPEU)

SPEU is another European ETF that investors wishing to diversify their portfolios might examine, and SPEU gives investors who choose to concentrate on European stocks regional exposure.


SPEU invests in 1 777 Western European firms in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, and other nations.


The fund's most significant holdings include Nestle SA, Roche Holding Ltd., ASML Holding NV, and Novartis AG. The fund manages a total of 207 million dollars. Moreover, thrifty investors would like the cheap 0.09 percent management charge.


Since its launch in 2002, SPEU ETF has provided investors with returns aligned with the benchmark. As of 04/30/2022, its one-year return is -7.89%, while its five-year return is 5.39% per year. Additionally, this international ETF has a reasonable dividend yield of 3.07 percent. 

3. iShares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan ETF (EPP)

Investors seeking a selected selection of Asia Pacific companies need to go no farther than the iShares MSCI Pacific ex-Japan exchange-traded fund (ETF). EPP provides investors access to 128 businesses in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Notably, this worldwide ETF excludes Japanese equities.


With AIA Group LTD., Commonwealth Bank of Australia, BHP Group Ltd., and CSL Ltd., the assets under the management of EPP total more than $2.4 billion. They are being its most significant holdings. Additionally, the expense ratio is 0.48 percent. As of 04/30/2021, EPP has a remarkable 1-year total return of 44.08 percent and a 5-year total return of 9.56 percent annually.

4. Global X FTSE Nordic Region ETF (GXF)

Europe's Nordic nations are Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, and Norway; these locations have become technological and innovative hotbeds. This international ETF exposes investors to 68 businesses, including Novo Nordisk, Ericsson, Volvo, and DSV Panasonic.


GSF outperforms the competition as of 03/31/2022 with a 1-year gain of 12.88 percent and a 5-year gain of 9.83 percent. In addition, GFX has net assets of about $118 Million, an expense ratio of 0.5%, and a dividend yield of 0.3%.

5. Vanguard International Equity ETF

International exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from Vanguard provide some of the lowest exposure to non-U.S. assets. For a good reason, the Vanguard Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) is the most popular broad international stock ETF. The fund's cost ratio is meager for this sector, at only 0.08 percent, enabling affordable access to the global stock market. This ETF aims to replicate the FTSE Global All Cap ex-US Index and manages about $420 billion in assets.

6. ETF iShares International Select Dividend

Investors who want to replace lost opportunities to generate income from bonds and other fixed-income assets prefer dividend stocks in the present climate of low-interest rates.


The problem of low loan rates is not exclusive to the United States. Given that income is a worldwide phenomenon, investors might choose the iShares International Select Dividend ETF (IDV, $32.25) to get exposure to foreign dividends.


The performance of the worldwide ETF is based on the Dow Jones EPAC Select Dividend Index. It consists of high-dividend-paying European, Pacific, Asian, and Canadian corporations. A corporation must have paid dividends for three consecutive years to be included in the index.


The ETF's top weights include a 22,2 percent allocation to British firms and a 10,2 percent allocation to Canadian companies. However, investors especially worried about Chinese exposure should be aware that IDV has a 10.3% allocation to Hong Kong-based companies. Hong Kong has always functioned primarily autonomously from China. However, Beijing's increasing interference in Hong Kong's autonomy and the crackdown on numerous freedoms has increased investment risks there.


From a sector perspective, the most significant stake is in financials (30.5%), followed by utilities (19.6%) and materials (13.0 percent ). As expected of a dividend ETF, technology represents less than 1 percent of its net assets.


The top ten holdings of IDV represent roughly 30 percent of the fund's total assets. The ETF's portfolio comprises only 100 companies, demonstrating its narrow concentration. Rio Tinto (RIO), a British mining company, holds the most significant investment at 6.8 percent. The worldwide ETF had a one-year cumulative return of 32.8% as of July 31.

7. Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF (SCHE)

SCHE may be the optimal option for investors seeking exposure to overseas ETFs, and its features and high returns make it appealing to most investors.


Emerging markets are frequently turbulent and hazardous, which makes them profitable investment opportunities. This passively managed ETF manages roughly $8.7 billion in assets, and SCHE invests in nations with rising markets, including China, Taiwan, India, and Brazil.


In addition, this Schwab ETF contains 1,874 equities. Real estate, energy, healthcare, and utilities are a few components of the ETF. Reliance Industries, Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holding, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing are top stock holdings.

The cost ratio of SCHE is 0.11 percent, and investors in this sort of fund get dividends every six months between June and December. In addition, as of 04/30/2022, this ETF has a 1-year return of -16.16 percent and a 5-year annual return of 4.23 percent. The volatility of emerging economies makes this ETF suited for investors with reasonable risk tolerance.


Lastly, this is an excellent fund that may give an investor with worldwide exposure and diversity to counter investments in the United States.

8. ETF iShares MSCI China (MCHI)

With approximately $6.8 billion in assets, the iShares MSCI China ETF is perhaps the most valuable Chinese foreign ETF. It exposes 597 mid- and large-cap Chinese firms, including Tencent, Alibaba, Meituan, and China Construction Bank Corp.


China boasts some of the world's largest firms outside the United States. Moreover, investors are paying more attention to Chinese enterprises.


The returns are pretty impressive, even with a cost-to-income ratio of 0.59 percent. MCHI has a fantastic 1-year growth rate of 38.14 percent and a 5-year annual growth rate of 15.80 percent as of 04/30/2021.

9. iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC)

Although Canada is not generally considered international, our list of the Best International ETFs would be incomplete without a Canadian option. Indeed, EWC provides an excellent chance for investors to acquire exposure to the most significant Canadian corporations.


The Royal Bank of Canada, Shopify, Toronto Dominion Bank, and Bank of Nova Scotia are just a few of the large-cap Canadian companies that the iShares MSCI Canada ETF invests in. Its one-year total return is a staggering 49.61 percent, but its five-year total is a relatively modest 9.30 percent. The expenditure ratio is 0.51%, and total assets are $4.2B.

10. Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF

Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-U.S. ETF is comparable to VXUS (VEU). The product tries to replicate the performance of the FTSE All-World ex-US Index and has an expense ratio of 0.08 percent. VEU and VXUS are wide international stock ETFs with high liquidity, and their past performance has been virtually comparable. VXUS is considerably more diverse than VEU, having around 7,500 holdings compared to VEU's 3,500. This exact comparison of VXUS and VEU was the subject of a separate blog article. Objectively, one should favor VXUS over VEU, but for tax loss harvesting reasons, VXUS and VEU make a terrific match. 

Advantages of ETFs

There are several reasons to appreciate ETFs. In reality, they constitute the foundation of many index investors' portfolios and my stock portfolio. Consider the following benefits of using ETFs as a primary investment as you design and adapt your investment and retirement strategies.

1. Diversification

Because ETFs hold several different stocks, investment in an ETF provides the same diversification advantage as investing in individual equities. By purchasing a single share of an ETF, you effectively invest in every stock and other investment it holds.


This implies that you do not need to spend hours studying and selecting stocks. You may invest in "the market" by purchasing ETFs holding hundreds of equities representing most of a region's public firms.


I possess a small number of international company equities, for example, and I acquire exposure to thousands of foreign equities by investing in international ETFs representing various nations and regions. Therefore, a shock to a single firm, nation, or even area will not cause my whole portfolio to collapse.

2. Lower Cost

ETFs are more cost-effective than mutual funds in two respects.


First, you may purchase ETF shares without transaction fees by investing through a brokerage that does not charge commissions. Charles Schwab, Vanguard, and TD Ameritrade are examples.


ETFs often have substantially lower cost ratios. Most ETFs are passively managed, meaning they do not rely on a human fund manager to select assets. Instead, an algorithm handles the fund's holdings of individual stocks. As the share prices of businesses in the S&P 500 increase and fall, for instance, ETFs that imitate it alter their weighting according to the same principles as the index.


Exchange-traded funds often have considerably lower expense ratios than traditional mutual funds since passive ETF owners do not need to pay management or a team of analysts and brokers to purchase and sell funds on their behalf or manage fund inflows and outflows.


In addition, their cost ratios tend to be lower than those of open-end index funds, as even open-end index funds must have sufficient personnel to conduct regular acquisitions and redemptions.

3. Liquidity 

You can only purchase open-end mutual fund shares once daily, at their net asset value (NAV) as of the previous market close. Mutual funds are unsuitable for day trading since you cannot purchase or sell shares throughout the day.


If you own an open-end fund during the evening off-hours and then learn of bad news the following morning after the markets open, you cannot sell until 4 p.m. Eastern time. Likewise, positive news cannot be purchased, and purchase orders are not recorded until after 4 p.m. the next day.


Using your brokerage account, you may purchase and sell ETFs and closed-end mutual funds throughout the trading day. Remember that certain funds trade more regularly than others, making it more straightforward to locate a willing buyer or seller quickly.


As is the case with individual equities, liquidity differs between ETFs. There is sometimes a substantial difference between the bid price and the asking price when it comes to thinly-traded ETFs. In such situations, selling shares, especially in significant quantities, might trigger a price decline.

4. Transparency

Anybody with a brokerage account may see the price history, trading volume, and holdings of an ETF. This is permissible in real-time and without constraints.


However, mutual funds commonly reveal their holdings monthly or quarterly, so when you purchase or sell shares, you do not know their precise current holdings.

5. Ability to Short Sell

With open-end funds, short selling, the practice of borrowing shares and selling them in anticipation of a price decline, is prohibited. If prices drop, the short seller purchases the shares at the new, lower price and sells them back to the original owner, pocketing the difference.


Using ETFs, investors may short indices, sectors, nations, and even whole markets.


It should be highlighted, nevertheless, that only experienced investors should think about shorting stocks. If you are incorrect and the shares rise instead of decrease, your losses are unlimited. When you make a conventional investment in securities, you only risk your original investment.

6. Tax Benefits

Index funds, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), are often tax-efficient and excellent for taxable accounts. This is because index fund portfolio turnover is modest, whereas actively managed fund managers sell stocks and purchase new ones at their whim.


Only when new stocks are added to the index are index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) required to sell shares, and vice versa. Otherwise, they adjust percentages when the share weighting changes.


When a fund sells a share for a profit, the IRS assesses capital gains tax, passed on to investors. Due to their few share sales, index funds and ETFs seldom produce taxable distributions for their shareholders.


By delivering "in-kind" dividends to shareholders, the brokerage that issues ETFs can also avoid unneeded taxes. This implies that the fund can distribute portfolio securities directly to shareholders to sell themselves if they need cash. This protects the remaining shareholders of the fund from the tax effects of the transaction.


As with closed-end and open-end mutual funds, dividend income generated by the ETF's portfolio is taxable.

7. No Cash Drag

ETFs are not required to pay out shareholders directly upon sale (known as redeeming shares). This is because you sell shares of an ETF to another buyer on the open market when you sell them.


ETFs can keep nearly minimal cash on hand since they are not required to allow sellers to redeem their holdings. The vast majority maintain their real cash invested at all times, which enables them to duplicate an index as precisely as possible and maximize their profits in rising markets.

Disadvantages of ETFs

No asset class is devoid of disadvantages. Consider the following drawbacks in addition to the advantages mentioned above as you compare ETFs to mutual funds.

1. Potential Illiquidity 

As described above, certain ETFs offer greater liquidity than others. If an ETF has little trading volume, purchase orders can drive the price up, and sell orders can drive the price down. You can still purchase or sell rapidly, but not necessarily at the current price.

2. Higher Cost for Actively Managed Funds

Not all ETFs are passive index funds, and certain ETFs are actively managed by fund managers who seek to outperform the market.


Given the involvement of human labor, these actively managed funds are more expensive. In particular, they charge a higher expense ratio, the yearly management fee assessed to shareholders.

3. Easy Way to Earn Average Market Returns

Although not all ETFs are index funds, ETFs enable you to invest in diverse stocks. Moreover, index funds provide an incredibly convenient approach to generating returns that resemble a particular stock index.


Index funds are comparable to "investing in the market itself" for investors. Suppose the S&P 500 increases by 5%, and index funds that track it will also increase by 5%. Consequently, investors obtain market-average returns rather than the market-beating gains that many investors want.


Investors attempt to outperform the market in various methods, including market timing, choosing specific stocks, and purchasing actively managed mutual funds. On the other hand, the strategy of purchasing passive index funds and keeping them for the long term dispenses with attempting to be clever in favor of just riding the market up.


After years of attempting to demonstrate my intelligence and outperform the competition, I gave up, and it required too much work, regardless. However, for many investors, accepting market-average returns diminishes the enjoyment of investing.

4. Miniature Discounts

Investors set share values directly when fund shares are exchanged on the open market instead of being redeemed directly from the fund company. This market price may be more or lower than the total value of the portfolio's shares.


With closed-end funds, investors can occasionally purchase fund shares at a 5 to 15 percent discount to net asset value while still receiving all dividends and interest payments from the fund and the possibility of capital growth if discounts narrow.


In contrast, discounts on ETFs are often either extremely limited or nonexistent. If an investor desires to purchase fund shares at a discount, he or she should consider purchasing an actively managed closed-end mutual fund instead of an ETF. This is particularly true for investors that prioritize making money.

5. DRIPs Cannot Always Be Obtained

A DRIP, or dividend reinvestment plan, is utilized by several investors to reinvest dividends in fund shares automatically. However, not all brokerages and funds permit this, as it may involve excessive fund management and increased fund expenses.


The low-cost structure of ETFs is a crucial component of the rationale behind investing in ETFs. When purchasing ETF shares, confirm that dividends can be reinvested automatically. If not, anticipate receiving dividends and interest payments immediately and paying taxes if they are not held in an IRA or other tax-advantaged account. 

Final Thoughts

Despite the many advantages of investing in ETFs, they nonetheless carry risk, just like any other investment instrument. Therefore, you must comprehend both this risk and previous returns.


Before investing your life savings, you should see a financial professional or create an account with a Robo-advisor and review their portfolio suggestions. Also, do not be bashful about conducting your research on funds that interest you.