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BRIC countries

The BRIC countries are Brazil, Russia, India, and China. (The acronym is the first letter of each country's name.) The emerging/growing economies of these four countries are commonly mentioned together by investors, although they aren't allied in any way.

Expanded Definition

Analysts at Goldman Sachs generally get credit for coining the acronym BRIC in a 2003 report that predicted the economies of those four countries would be major players in the world economy in the future, perhaps surpassing the world's current economic powerhouses by 2050.

Was Goldman Sachs perhaps trying to generate investing buzz and an exciting "new" place for investors to put their money? It worked out that way, and investors have profited from these emerging economies. As have brokers selling mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that give shareholders one-stop access to stocks in these countries.

The emerging nature of their economies means there is room for many companies and their stocks to grow at a faster pace than in already developed economies such as in the United States. Of course, there can also be risks you don't find in more stable economies, such as unpredictable government interference and lax regulation.

Combining the countries under a catchy acronym is an investing convenience. The four contries have no special economic alliance, they are geographically and politically disparate, and their economies are not particularly similar. Goldman Sachs' theory linked China with producing manufactured goods, India with providing services, and Brazil and Russia with supplying raw materials.

An index such as the S&P 40 BRIC will help you get a handle on how stocks in that quartet are doing.

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