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Emerging Markets, Ports of Opportunity

If the world's biggest companies want a piece of emerging markets, then you probably do too.

Ports from China to India to Brazil are humming, as the trade balance shifts. High demand, strong growth and more stable, transparent economies make emerging markets more attractive than ever.

"I look at the BRICs as companies with great products, low-cost labor and natural resources," says Cook. "Opportunities exist."

Though Brazil, Russia, India and China still draw the bulk of investor capital, there are other choices in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

"We use emerging markets traditionally on the equity side, as a diversifier, to broaden the foreign exposure," says Romano of Moss Adams. "We believe emerging markets are in the same category as U.S. core or foreign core."

While the U.S. market plunged in late 2008 and early 2009, emerging market stocks were soaring.

There's now an enormous universe of emerging-market exchange traded funds: single country, regional or global; equity, bond, currency.

As a rule, experts advise broad exposure and discourage single-country funds, but a lot depends on your risk tolerance.

"We’re using ETFs for both equity- and debt-based investments — both regional and broad based," says Schlesinger of FBB Capital Partners. "On the equity side, it's a little easier to go regional, even country specific."

Photo: AFP | Stringer | Getty Images