As emerging markets get crushed, reasons to own the space are cropping up

The Turkish lira's devastating sell-off, along with the broader Turkish market, is exacerbating emerging markets' recent decline. Investors might find opportunities amid the rubble, but the key is being selective.

The emerging markets-tracking EEM ETF is showing signs of recovery amid international trade war turmoil, and there are several reasons to own the space. To be sure, the EEM is down on the year, but it's managed to bounce nicely off its June lows.

Finding growth

With European growth already topping out, and U.S. growth likely peaking as well, emerging markets remain a solid source of global growth.

Analysts expect earnings growth in emerging markets to rebound in 2019, despite recent softness from the global trade slowdown. Rising oil prices should benefit emerging markets, too.

Selection matters

Of course, there's good reason to be selective about exposing your portfolio to emerging markets. Trade war tensions are affecting specific country outlooks such as China, Mexico and now Turkey.

The effects are expected to be localized, and so being active rather than passive in emerging markets right now can help minimize some of this pain. A country-specific ETF for a country, like India, would be option.

As the trade cycle slows and the commodities cycle picks up, gaining exposure to big oil countries like the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF could enhance a portfolio; that ETF is up 16 percent this year.

Investors would be prudent to remember, too, that as geopolitical tensions continue to roil markets, remember the emerging variety tends to respond poorly. So if you'd like to gain emerging markets exposure but want to avoid the tail risks, something more like the iShares Edge MSCI Minimum Volatility Emerging Markets ETF might be more your speed.

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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen joined CNBC in December 2013 as a correspondent, focusing on the global consumer. She is co-anchor of the 10AM ET hour of CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" (M-F, 9AM-11AM ET), broadcast from Post 9 at the New York Stock Exchange.

In March 2018, Eisen was named co-anchor of CNBC's "Power Lunch" (M-F, 1PM-3PM ET), which broadcasts from CNBC Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

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