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US risk is rising. Here are two emerging markets that will outperform

  • Growth in the U.S. has dominated over the past five years, but recently international markets have been outperforming those in the U.S., pointing to possible investment opportunities abroad.
  • China and India are the two markets representing the greatest growth stories for investors right now.
Indian residents walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai.
Indranil Mukherjee | AFP | Getty Images
Indian residents walk past the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in Mumbai.

Investors have been swarmed with headlines, tweets and sound bites constantly tracking President Donald Trump and his administration's next move. If policies like tax reforms materialize, domestic companies should benefit.

However, trying to predict when these changes will occur and how they will impact U.S. markets is too uncertain. Amidst this buzz, investors might be overlooking more compelling global market factors. Growth in the U.S. has dominated over the past five years, but recently international markets have been outperforming those in the U.S., pointing to possible investment opportunities abroad.

First, we look to China, the world's second largest economy and primary consumer of several commodities, including aluminum and nickel. China has set an example as a global growth engine, which doesn't appear to be losing steam any time soon.

Consumer demand continues on an upward trajectory and wage growth is rising, pointing to a maintained increase in spending power. With the world's largest middle class, some might even say purchasing power in China is reminiscent of the "American Dream" that drove our economy in the 1950's.

The slice of any country's population at working age is imperative to economic growth potential. A rapidly aging population that's crippling resources is a ticking time bomb in places like Europe and Japan. Demographics in China further support growth opportunities over the long term, with a median age of 35.

"The demographics of both China and India have the IMF and others predicting these two countries will remain at the top of GDP growth lists for the next several years."

There's a particular strength in those at the prime working age (roughly mid-thirties to mid-fifties), who have risen in the ranks to a stable career. This concentration should drive consumption, investing and saving, all of which support economic growth.

India paints a similarly positive picture, outpacing all of the major global indices over the start of 2017. India has solid demographics, with a median age of 26 – indicating an even younger slice of educated, working people than China. In turn, the country's economy holds potential for innovation and productivity to thrive as more of the population enters the labor force.

Over the past three years, its gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by over 7 percent annually. Furthermore, increased economic activity should result from Narenda Modi's pro-business reforms, with his particular focus on boosting infrastructure.

The growth story in China and India is not a new one as both countries have been consistently near the top of world GDP growth over the past decade. China's growth took off in the late 90's and India joined it at the top of the list in 2013.

China's growth slowed during the past several years and India's growth rate dropped last year due to policy changes, which removed large denominated bills, but recent data show that growth in both countries is beginning to accelerate again.

Staying at the top of the growth list is sometimes difficult, especially for these emerging economies, which are now reaching a more mature status. But the demographics of both China and India have the IMF and others predicting these two countries will remain at the top of GDP growth lists for the next several years.

With all of these signs pointing to continued growth among the middle, working classes in China and India, investors may want to consider looking to strategically incorporate these countries into their portfolios. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, including exchange-traded-funds (ETFs), industrial commodities, the Yuan and the Rupee.

While we're constantly surrounded by the political buzz in America, it's important for investors to keep in mind that market movements resulting from the new administration's decisions are increasingly short-term, impulse reactions.

Keeping an eye on the fundamentals will help differentiate long-term, safer investments versus short-term, risky decisions. With the U.S. equity markets continuing to reach all-time highs, it could be a good time to look at locking in some profits and diversifying into foreign markets. Incorporating emerging markets into your portfolio can help you break away from the noise in the U.S. while expanding your portfolio.

Commentary by Chris Gaffney, president of the World Markets division of EverBank.

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