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Tickers in this Article: SPY, BIK, EFA, MCD, WMT, GOOG
Perseverance. Webster's dictionary defines the word as "remaining constant to a purpose, idea, or task despite obstacles". Remembering the purpose for each investment you choose is more important now than ever. After six consecutive down days of the Dow Jones Industrial Average through (starting January 14) long-term investors or beginners should view the dips as opportunities to invest. The following three ETFs have each fallen over the past year, but still offer long-term opportunity.

Domestic Opportunity
The S&P 500 SPDR (NYSE:SPY) gives investors exposure to domestic companies like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), while also allowing investors to benefit from the overseas revenues captured by many of the companies on the index. For example, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) - which is also on the index - reports that its fastest growing markets are outside of the U.S., with Europe making up the majority of the revenue for the fast-food restaurant chain. These international revenue gains are accessible through this domestic ETF.

Traditional International Opportunity
Investors contemplating their foreign exposure often think of investing in Europe. For most of 2008, European travelers to the U.S. enjoyed the strength of the euro relative to the U.S. dollar. The tide has since turned and the U.S. dollar index value has rebounded from the low 70s to the mid-80s. Along with Europe's own set of economic woes - from tightening credit markets and slumping economic activity - the iShares MSCI EAFE Index ETF (NYSE:EFA) has also taken a tumble over the past 12 months. The EFA ETF offers investors concentrated exposure to European countries including the UK, France and Germany, in addition to a quarter of its portfolio set aside for investments in Japan.

"BRIC" and Mortar Countries
The reasoning to explore beyond the traditional international idea of foreign exposure is to further diversify the risk in a portfolio. The SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF (NYSE:BIK) is a play on the BRIC theme and focuses on four economies poised for growth in terms of the need for infrastructure development and a future expansion of middle-income residents in each country. The BIK ETF has a relatively balanced exposure between China, Brazil, Russia and India.

As in past years, China is expected to be one of the fastest-growing nations in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), while countries in frontier markets like Angola and Ethiopia have even higher growth rate estimates. The time may be right to start investing in some of these up-and-coming countries. (To learn more about funds such as these, read Going International With Foreign Index Funds.)

Final Thoughts
Holding off on investing is understandable if time is a limiting factor, but otherwise a dollar cost averaging approach in today's market is likely the best way to go once you clearly understand the investments your making. Investors should pay attention to transaction fees since spreading your investments too thin over too many months could defeat the purpose of capitalizing on the downward moves of the market.

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