Share Article

Would you like to buy an investment that’s lost money in three of the past five calendar years?

I didn’t think I’d get many takers.

How about a chance to own one of the fastest growing parts of the global economy—at some of the cheapest valuations currently on offer? That probably sounds more enticing.

In both instances, however, we’re talking about the same investment: emerging market stocks. While the S&P 500 notched a handsome 14.7% annual gain over the past five calendar years, MSCI’s Emerging Markets index eked out an average gain of just 1.3% a year, with losses posted in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Thanks to those wretched returns, today’s buyer can invest at modest valuations. Emerging stock markets are trading at a price-earnings multiple of 14, versus 21.9 for the developed world, according to These are so-called cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratios, meaning they compare current stock