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This Day In Market History: The First Emerging Market Equity Fund Launches

Wayne Duggan

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened?

On this day in 1987, Franklin Templeton launched the first-ever emerging markets equity fund for retail investors.

Where The Market Was

The S&P 500 was trading at 282.9 and the Dow closed the day at 2,216.6.

What Else Was Going On In The World?

In 1987, “The Simpsons” and “Full House” debuted on U.S. TV. A gallon of gas cost 89 cents.

Opening Up The Emerging World

The high-growth economies of the developing world had mostly been off limits for U.S. retail investors until Franklin Templeton launched the Templeton Emerging Markets (NYSE: EMF) fund back in February 1987. The fund’s stated goal is to invest at least 80 percent of its assets into emerging markets such as India, China and Brazil. These economies dwarf the growth rates of the U.S. economy, but buying individual stocks can be very risky. Emerging market funds give investors access to that impressive growth and provide the relative safety of diversification.

Today, top holdings include Samsung Electronic (OTC: SSNLF), Naspers Limited (ADR) (OTC: SPSNY) and Brilliance China Automotive Hldg. (ADR) (OTC: BCAUY).

U.S investors clearly developed an appetite for emerging markets and other funds soon followed in Franklin Templeton’s footsteps. Today, the Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock Index Fd (NYSE: VWO), the iShares Inc. (NYSE: IEMG) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Indx (ETF) (NYSE: EEM) each control more than $40 billion in total assets.

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