How Much International Exposure Should You Have? – BeatMarket


How Much International Stock Should Be in Your Portfolio?

Investing in foreign stocks can be a great way to grow your wealth over time. With so many options available, it can be difficult to know exactly how to allocate your portfolio. One of the decisions you will need to make is how much of your portfolio should be invested in international stocks. This can be a complex topic, as there are many factors to consider, such as political stability, economic growth, and currency fluctuations.

In this article, we will provide an overview of the pros and cons of investing in international stocks and help you determine how much of your portfolio should be allocated to this type of investment.

How Can An International Stock Portfolio Boost Your Investment Strategy?

When an investor decides to enter the international stock market he should have in mind that as with any other asset classes, this type of investing involves risk. International exposure can vary widely in terms of factors such as the size and stability of the underlying companies, the industries they operate in, as well as their future potential growth. 

Additionally, the economies and political environments of different countries can also impact the performance of their stock markets. It’s important to carefully consider these factors when evaluating individual international stocks or investing in international stock markets as a whole.

Of course, by applying international stocks to a trading portfolio the investor can take advantage of various diversification benefits that such a move can offer. For example, access to new growth opportunities, hedging against currency risks as well taking advantage of global economic growth. 

Are All International Stocks The Same?

There are many differences between international stocks in the global market since they can vary depending on their size, sector, as well as their financial performance. Moreover, the political and economic conditions of the region where the companies are located can influence the performance of the stocks. Additionally, the level of regulation and investor protections can be different between countries and this can have a serious impact on the stability and growth of international stocks.

International regions

Factors like stability and growth potential can play a significant role when it comes to choosing the region where an investor should place his funds. International stock markets are divided into the following: 

  • Asia-Pacific (Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore)
  • Europe (United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany)
  • Latin America (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru)

How to choose an international investment

When it comes to international asset allocation,  individual and institutional investors should first consider making a market and industry analysis in order to analyze crucial factors, such as the current economic conditions and the financial performance of the companies in the market. 

Additionally, another important factor is the risk tolerance of each investor. Thus, when choosing to invest in international markets, every trader should keep in mind that this choice comes with greater risks and volatility. Moreover, before an investor chooses the international market that fits him most, should consider and specify which are his foreign investment objectives depending on his long-term growth and income.     

Get broad exposure to international markets

In order to get broad exposure to international markets an investor can follow various options such as diversifying his trading portfolio with foreign stocks or even using a global allocation strategy by combining domestic stocks and international stocks.

Additionally, some experienced investors choose to invest in international index Funds or ETFs, which is considered a more cost-effective solution while at the same time, they provide broad exposure to international developed markets. Below is a list of popular international funds: 

Balancing Domestic & Foreign Stock Exposure

Here is a table of a portfolio consisting of U.S. bonds and international bonds from 1990 to 2022:

100% U.S. Bonds75/2550/5025/75100% International bonds
Average Annual Return6.40%6.15%6.00%5.75%5.10%
Standard Deviation8.20%7.75% 7.50%7.25%6.80%

This table shows the average annual return and standard deviation of a portfolio consisting of U.S. bonds and international bonds. The portfolio with a 75/25 blend of U.S. bonds and international bonds had the highest return and the lowest volatility among the options. This combination of higher return and lower volatility is considered rare and desirable.

How Much To Invest In International Markets?

In order to define the recommended amount to invest in international developed markets an investor should first defy his investment goals, his risk tolerance, and most important the overall portfolio diversification strategy.

Typically, most experts suggest that a percentage between 5% to 30% of the investment portfolio in international markets. For example, if you have a higher risk tolerance and are comfortable with a more aggressive investment strategy, you may consider a higher allocation to international stocks.

Things to consider

As we have already mentioned investing in international markets can come with added risks, such as currency fluctuations and political instability. Thus, it is important to carefully consider any investment goals making any investment decisions.

Types of international markets

There are various types of international markets. The list below briefly analyzes each of them: 

  • Developed markets. This category includes countries with mature economies and well-established stock markets. They usually offer stability and lower volatility.
  • Emerging markets. Those are countries with developing economies and growing stock markets. They may offer higher growth potential, but with a higher risk and volatility.
  • Frontier markets. Such markets are represented by countries with less mature economies and stock markets. They offer even higher growth potential than emerging markets, but with larger risk and serious uncertainty.
  • Regional markets. In some geographic regions, such as the Asia-Pacific region or the European Union, investors can invest in a specific regional market, or diversify their investments across multiple regions.

What Is The Appropriate Amount Of International Stock To Include In One’s Portfolio?

Most experienced investors will advise that a well-diversified portfolio should embody a mix of both domestic and international stocks. However,  the specific allocation depends on the individual’s investment goals. For a more conservative investor, it is more efficient to allocate a smaller portion of his portfolio to international stocks. Conversely, for a more aggressive one, a larger portion is the rule.

Additionally, the allocation of international exposure in a portfolio can also be influenced by changes in the global market. Thus, a regular review and rebalancing of a portfolio can help ensure that it continues to align with an individual’s investment objectives.

Do you need to have international stock in your portfolio?

Some investors believe that it is not obligatory to include international stocks in their trading portfolio. Others say that the diversification that the overseas markets can offer provides great benefits and opportunities. Of course, the decision of whether to include international stock or not depends on each individual’s trading strategy, investment goals, and risk tolerance. 

Why an international stock portfolio is a good choice?

An international stock portfolio can provide several benefits to investors, such as access to a wider range of investment opportunities, potential for higher returns, and increased portfolio diversification. Investing in international stocks also offers exposure to different currencies, economies, and industries, which can help reduce overall portfolio risk and provide a more stable investment return. With careful consideration of individual goals and risk tolerance, an international stock portfolio can be a good choice for many investors.

But how exactly does this work?

Investing in international stocks involves purchasing shares of companies located in foreign countries. This type of investment provides exposure to different economies, currencies, and industries and can help diversify a portfolio. International stocks can be purchased through a variety of investment vehicles, such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), international stock funds, or by purchasing individual foreign stocks.

What is the sweet spot?

The “sweet spot” refers to the optimal balance between risk and reward for an investment portfolio or strategy. It is the point where the potential returns are highest while the risk is at its lowest.

Diversification is Key

Diversification is key in an international stock portfolio as it helps spread investment risk across different countries, currencies, and industries. This helps mitigate the impact of market fluctuations in any one particular region or sector and can lead to a more stable and consistent overall investment return. By investing in a diversified portfolio of international stocks, investors can potentially reduce overall portfolio risk and increase investment return over the long-term.

What Are The Potential Risks Of Investing In International Stocks?

Investing in foreign stocks carries added risks such as currency fluctuations, political instability, economic uncertainty, and differing regulations. These factors can negatively impact the value of international stocks and potentially lead to significant losses. It is important to carefully consider these risks before investing in international markets.

What are the steps to follow when investing in international stocks?

Before an investor chooses which international stock fits his portfolio, he should first follow some steps in order to take a secure decision.

  1. Make research. A successful investment strategy always needs first to be accompanied by proper research. Thus, any investor has to conduct a proper research for credible information about the company he is interested in, its financial health as well as its past performance.
  2. Define risk tolerance. An investor has to decide how much risk he is ready to accept. When a trader decides to allocate his portfolio to foreign stock exposure, he should keep in mind that this can come with some added risks, such as currency fluctuations.
  3. Choose the instrument. It is important to choose a proper investment vehicle depending on the investor’s goals and strategy. A mutual fund, an exchange-traded fund (ETF), or individual stocks are among good choices.

Critics of Having International Stock Portfolio Exposure

The criticism of having total equity exposure in international stocks refers to the potential drawbacks and risks associated with investing in international stocks. Some common criticisms include currency fluctuations, political and economic instability, and different accounting and regulatory standards, which can impact the performance of international investments. It is important to consider these potential risks and seek professional investment advice before making any investment decisions.

So What Do I Do With My International Stocks?

Investing in international stocks is considered to be a long-term strategy. In order for an investor to manage efficiently his international stocks the steps below are considered as a good lead: 

  • Monitor their performance. It is mandatory to often review the performance of the international markets and adjust the trading portfolio to any changes.
  • Take into consideration the currency fluctuations. A great impact on an investor’s strategy can have currency fluctuations. They can influence any international investment’s value. 
  • Always be informed about the international market. An investor should always be aware of any political and economic development in the regions and countries where he has invested. That way he can foresee any upcoming impact on his asset’s performance.


Should I have international bonds in my portfolio?

It’s an individual choice that depends on your investment goals, risk tolerance, and overall investment strategy. However, international bonds can provide diversification benefits and help to reduce overall portfolio risk. Thus, if one market is performing poorly, the other may be performing well, potentially reducing the overall volatility of your portfolio.

Should I include international stocks in my investment portfolio?

Yes, it is considered to be an efficient option to include international stock exposure in your investment portfolio for diversification and the potential for higher returns. However, it is important to consider the risks involved and seek professional advice before making any investment decisions.

What percentage of my portfolio should be in emerging markets?

Some financial advisors suggest that the average investor allocates 5-10% of their portfolio to emerging markets. Of course, any individual financial decision should be taken with proper risk management in order to avoid high losses and succeed in your financial goals

The Bottom Line

Investing in an international stock portfolio may seem like a good option for diversification and higher potential returns. However, it may also come with its drawbacks and risks, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability, as well as different regulatory standards. Thus, it’s important to carefully consider the benefits and risks of international investing and determine which can be the right choice for each individual’s portfolio depending on the investment goals and risk tolerance.


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