US vs. Indian Midcaps

According to investopedia, home country bias refers to the tendency for investors to favor companies from their own countries over those from other countries or regions. This tendency to invest in our own backyard is not unusual or surprising; it is a worldwide phenomenon. This bias is also understandable. After all, we are inclined to recognize and value domestic brands, and consequently, to trust in their solidity and ability to perform well on our behalf. Investors who exhibit home country bias with their investments tend to be optimistic about their domestic markets, and are either pessimistic or indifferent toward foreign markets.

Indian financial media will have us believe that investing in Indian midcaps is the road to riches. There is some truth in it. If you compare returns since early 2000’s, Indian midcaps trounced US midcaps:

But something broke in 2010:

The reasons are many. However, if you think back to 2008, Indian banks came out fairly unscathed from the credit crunch. Investors expected Indian markets to out-perform. But exactly the reverse happened. Year-on-year returns did not really call an early winner either:

This is precisely why investors should diversify across geographies. When it comes to markets, anything can happen.

RUA: Russell 3000 Index tracks the performance of the 3,000 largest U.S.-traded stocks which represent about 98% of all U.S incorporated equity securities.
MID: S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index tracks a diverse basket of medium-sized U.S. firms.

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