Four Country ETFs Holding up Well Against The S&P 500
The last 90 days have been a grizzly period for scores of country-specific ETFs. Developed and emerging markets funds have both been taken to the woodshed. In the face of surging correlations, it almost hasn't mattered if you owned an ETF tracking a European country, an Asian emerging market or Latin America because they've all been whacked.
Despite the country-specific fund blues, some of these ETFs have actually looked pretty good when measured against the S&P 500 over the past 90 days and that could be a sign that these are the ETFs to focus on if the market takes a turn for the better.
Here's a quartet of ETFs that fit the bill and some of the members may be a surprise.
iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: EPHE): Compared to a lot of the other funds tracking rapidly growing Southeast Asian economies, EPHE has held up relatively well lately. Admittedly, the ETF has slightly lagged the S&P 500 over the past three months, but not by much. Prior to September, EPHE had been crushing the S&P 500. The Philippines merits a long-term bullish view, but be advised EPHE's September decline has been a bit nasty. Support at $21 must hold or else you must get out.
iShares MSCI New Zealand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: ENZL): We're not going to celebrate ENZL's 5% slide in the past three months, but it's far better than the 10% drop delivered by the S&P 500. Give ENZL this much credit: New Zealand is a commodities-driven developed market, so a 5% drop in this market isn't that bad. Plus, ENZL has sharply outperformed the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (NYSE: EWA) over the past 90 days.
iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: THD): THD has topped the S&P 500 recently, but only by a slim margin. As is the case with EPHE, THD's September woes are somewhat alarming, but it is still hard to diminish Thailand's growth prospects. As long as support at $54 holds, THD is worth staying long with.
iShares MSCI Peru All Capped Index Fund (NYSE: EPU): This one is the real stunner. Peru has faced political headwinds. The country is intimately levered to the commodities theme as a major metals producer. Add to that, Brazil has weighed on almost every Latin America ETF and it's a wonder that EPU isn't down severely over the last three months. Actually, EPU is flat in that time. Two things about that: That's obviously far better than a 10% drop for the S&P 500 and it may be a sign that EPU will rally sharply if the broader market cooperates.
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