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International Finance Discussion Papers
The International Finance Discussion Papers logo links to the International Finance Discussion Papers home page The Performance of International Portfolios
Charles P. Thomas; Francis E. Warnock; Jon Wongswan
2004-817  (September 2004, latest version October 2004)

Abstract:  This paper evaluates the performance of U.S. investors’ portfolios in the equities of over 40 countries over a 25-year period. We find that these portfolios achieved a significantly higher Sharpe ratio than foreign benchmarks, especially since 1990. We uncover three potential reasons for this success. First, U.S. investors abstained from momentum trading and instead sold past winners. Second, conditional performance tests provide no evidence that the superior (unconditional) performance owed to private information, suggesting that the successful exploitation of publicly available information played a role. Third, the documented preference for cross-listed and well-governed foreign firms appears to have served U.S. investors well. We conclude with a short discussion of the implications of our findings for the home bias literature.

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Keywords
home bias, momentum, contrarian, conditional performance measures, equities, bonds

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