If a wider range of investment choices can benefit investors, why should we limit ourselves to purely domestic assets? Globalization requires efficient communication technology and the dismantling of regulatory constraints. These tendencies in worldwide investment environments have encouraged international investing in recent years.

U.S. investors commonly participate in foreign investment opportunities in several ways: (1) purchase foreign securities using American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), which are domestically traded securities that represent claims to shares of foreign stocks; (2) purchase foreign securities that are offered in dollars; (3) buy mutual funds that invest internationally; and (4) buy derivative securities with payoffs that depend on prices in foreign security markets.

18 PART I Introduction

U.S. investors who wish to purchase foreign shares can often do so using American Depositary Receipts. Brokers who act as intermediaries for such transactions purchase an inventory of stock of some foreign issuer. The broker then issues an ADR that represents a claim to some number of those foreign shares held in inventory. The ADR is denominated in dollars and can be traded on U.S. stock exchanges but is in essence no more than a claim on a foreign stock. Thus, from the investor's point of view, there is no more difference between buying a French versus a U.S. stock than there is in holding a Massachusetts-backed stock compared with a California-based stock. Of course, the investment implications may differ.

A variation on ADRs are WEBS (World Equity Benchmark Shares), which use the same depository structure to allow investors to trade portfolios of foreign stocks in a selected country. Each WEBS security tracks the performance of an index of share returns for a particular country. WEBS can be traded by investors just like any other security (they trade on the Amex), and thus enable U.S. investors to obtain diversified portfolios of foreign stocks in one fell swoop.

A giant step toward globalization took place in 1999, when 11 European countries established a new currency called the euro. The euro currently is used jointly with the national currencies of these countries, but is scheduled to replace them, so that there will shortly be one common European currency in the participating countries (sometimes called

Figure 1.1 Globalization and American Depositary Receipts.

CHAPTER 1 The Investment Environment 19

euroland). The idea behind the euro is that a common currency will facilitate global trade and encourage integration of markets across national boundaries. Figure 1.1 is an announcement of a loan in the amount of 500 million euros. (Each euro is currently worth a bit less than $1; the symbol for the euro is €.)

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