How Sturdy Are BRICs?

Funds that focus their investments in Brazil, Russia, India, and China are gaining prominence, but some analysts have their doubts

Jim O'Neill laughs about the time he gave a speech to more than a thousand people at a recent conference in Rio de Janeiro. As usual, Goldman Sachs' head of global economic research was presenting his theory that Brazil, Russia, India, and China -- or BRICs, as he calls the group -- will become four of the seven largest economies in the world by 2050. As O'Neill walked up to the podium, the introducer whispered in his ear that the economist must have added Brazil because a "B" made the BRIC acronym sound good. Turns out O'Neill's catchy saying, and the research that backs it up, have found believers on Wall Street, prompting the development of new products.

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