It's not just the S&P 500 trying to recapture records.
International markets – Germany, South Korea, China and Japan – are also marching back to the year's highs. Those countries' leading stock market indexes are at least 7% within reach of their 2020 peaks.
With U.S. stocks so close to records, one market watcher spies opportunity in the global markets that have not yet caught up to their highs.
"We have a global macro ETF strategy run by my partner Arthur Laffer Jr. and he recently took position at the end of June in China, and though China has run up about 18-19% since then … we are still very optimistic about China as a trade going forward," Nancy Tengler, chief investment officer at Laffer Tengler Investments, told CNBC's "Trading Nation" on Thursday.
Tengler cites support from China's government for companies affected by tariffs and a fresh economic plan focused on domestic demand being met by domestic production.
"Lastly, you have a country that was first in or first opened that has been supplying global demand as the rest of the world is reopening so we think there's a lot of room to go in China," Tengler said.
The Shanghai Composite is up 27% from its March lows. It is 3% from a high set in mid-July.
JC O'Hara, chief market technician at MKM Partners, likes another stock market in the region.
"Investors should be looking at Asia for opportunities. And we've recently really warmed up to South Korea for several reasons," O'Hara said during the same "Trading Nation" segment.
One factor is its valuation, he said. The S&P 500 trades at nearly 23 times forward earnings, while the South Korean Kospi index trades at 12 times. O'Hara also likes the index's weighting with around 25% in semiconductors.
"As a technician, the most important reason that we like South Korea is the simple fact that the chart is breaking out to multiyear highs. For the South Korean ETF, the EWY, the next level of resistance is 13% higher so there's plenty of room to run," said O'Hara.
The EWY South Korea ETF hit a 52-week high Wednesday. It has risen 74% off its March low.
Disclosure: Laffer Tengler Investments holds ASHR China A shares ETF.
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