As the world turns, BRICs no longer a slam dunk
Once the darling of financial markets, the tables appear to have "flipped" for BRIC nations, analysts say, with one market watcher predicting a recession for the economies once famous for their fast growth.
Emerging countries such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, often referred to as the BRICS, have dominated stock markets with stellar gains in the past decade, but their performance year-to-date has been miserable.
Instead, it's the developed equity markets that have taken the spotlight this year, with many raking in double-digit gains.
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"I think we've had a really strong bull market in emerging markets for many years. That era has ended and now, we're going to get a very long bull market in European and American stocks," said Clem Chambers, CEO of financial services website ADVFN.
"The BRIC story is over and the BRICS will go into recession. Like all things, there's always a party going on somewhere and the party's going to be in America and as an off-set, in Europe."
So far this year, both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index have notched up gains of over 18 percent. In Europe, London's FTSE 100 index has rallied 11 percent and the Spanish Ibex is up 3.5 percent.
According to Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital, the improving conditions in the developed world are occurring even as headwinds build in the developing world, in what he has identified as a new "secular trend."
"With the U.S., Europe and Japan rebuilding after a horrible decade (or two in the case of Japan), the key emerging market countries are looking a bit less bright," said Oliver said in a note published on Wednesday.
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"Risks around the Chinese economy appear to have increased after several years of rapid debt growth," Oliver wrote, while "India, Brazil and Indonesia appear to be facing a less attractive growth and inflation [outlook]."
South America and Russia, meanwhile, are vulnerable to "the less favorable outlook for commodity prices," he added.
Oliver stressed that the shift in secular patterns doesn't signal alarm bells, but should prompt investors to be more selective in their emerging market picks.
(Read more: Why we're more gloomy about BRICs: Goldman)
"In particular commodity users such as the Asian region are generally more attractive than commodity suppliers such South America and Russia," he said.
Chambers at ADVFN was more bearish, saying that he expected the investor shift away from the BRICS towards the world's major economies to be a long-term trend.
"The new long-term trend will be ascending first-world in the same way as the old long term trend was descending first-world and an ascending BRICS. That has flipped now, and you'll see China under pressure for a long time, India random as usual and Brazil in recession," he said.
- By CNBC's Li Anne Wong and Nyshka Chandran.
Follow Li Anne on Twitter: @LiAnneCNBC
Follow Nyshka on Twitter: @NyshkaCNBC