May

6

 Below are data for the various iShares country funds. Columns are country, ticker, economic freedom index (from Heritage Foundation), and percent return (dollar denominated) from the end of 2008 through May 4, 2009.

There are 24 funds available. The bottom 12 in terms of economic freedom returned an average of 17.6%, while the top 12 averaged 8.3%. So yes, the least free countries did best this time.

The biggest winner was Taiwan, up 47%, but near the median in terms of economic freedom. The least free country, Brazil, was up 42%, well above the 13% overall average return for the 24 countries. The biggest loser was Switzerland, down 8%, and near the top in terms of economic freedom.


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