Several days ago, the Bespoke Investment Group let us down by serving up arbitrary year-to-date returns; the folks at Bespoke used that data to declare that China had gone from first place in BRIC investing to the worst BRIC performer.

Indeed, the calendar-year focus on Brazil, Russia, India and China has some investors mourning the paltry 55% gains that China (PGJ) accrued in the first 3 quarters of 2009. Meanwhile, Russia (RSX) was up nearly 100%, India (IFN) at 77%, Brazil (EWZ) at 63%.

Now... the mainstream media may not be expected to distinguish between an arbitrary period like 1/1-9/30 and a meaningful period... but Bespoke researchers sure can. Wouldn't it be more useful to look at rolling returns? How about longer time periods? Why not 18 months? Perhaps we could go for 27?

Here, then, is a 27-month sneak peek:

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Turns out, Russia and India have a long way to go to catch up to Brazil and China; the former nations are still wayyyyy behind in the BRIC race.

More important, one should be clear on the countries that are in the driver seat: China and Brazil. The governments are more stable; their worldwide influence is much greater than that of Russia or India.

Believe it or not... I'm not knocking Russia or India; both of these countries have unique potential all their own; that said, Brazil has the most robust consumer base of the BRIC countries as well as the widest range of natural resources. Meanwhile, China can pretty much tell the entire world what to do... and is THE primary superpower for any global recovery.

Nevertheless, you could decide to invest clear across the BRIC countries with the Claymore BRIC Fund (EEB). And right now, there might be an extra incentive in the one-time annual dividend payout in December. It's a formidable 1.6%.

Speaking of exceptional payouts, there are 8 foreign ETFs (7 foreign, 1 global) that might be worth pursuing; that is, if you were thinking of buying one of these ETFs in 2009, the end-of-year income stream provides a bit more motivation.

8 Foreign ETFs With Venerable Year-End Distributions (As of 10/8)
       
      Anticipated %
    (Note: This is the December payment, not an annual %)
       
iShares MSCI Malaysia (EWM)   

1.4%

iShares MSCI Austria (EWO)   

1.8%

iShares MSCI Australia (EWA)   

2.3%

Claymore China Real Estate (TAO)  

2.0%

Claymore BRIC (EEB)   

1.6%

Vanguard Emerging Markets (VWO)  

3.0%

Vanguard Europe Pacific (VEA)   

2.8%

Market Vectors Steel (SLX)   

2.5%

 If you'd like to learn more about ETF investing... then tune into In the Money With Gary Gordon. You can listen to the show live or via podcast or on your iPod.

Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a web log (blog) that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Pacific Park Financial, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC, may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds and/or index funds mentioned above. Investors who are interested in money management services may visit the Pacific Park Financial, Inc. web site.

You can view Gary's daily market commentary at www.ETFexpert.com. You can also email him directly at garygordon@mypacificpark.com.