ETFs For The Swimsuit Indicator
It's that time of year again. The time when we're reminded that Sports Illustrated is still in business because the venerable swimsuit issue is hitting mailboxes and news stands everywhere. Kidding aside, with the swimsuit issue comes the "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Indicator," courtesy of Bespoke Investment Group.
Long story short, the indicator shows the S&P 500 performs better in a year when an American model graces the cover than when a foreign model lands the prestigious honor. There might be something to that. Last year, Irina Shayk became the first Russian to grace the cover of the swimsuit issue.
That wasn't good news for U.S. stocks, nor was it good news for Russia ETFs as we speculated it might be. The Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSE: RSX) traded around $39 at the time of Shayk's cover. The largest Russia-specific ETF closed below $31.40 today.
Fortunately for the bulls, American Kate Upton is on this year's cover. Assuming Bespoke's indicator proves accurate, the following ETFs might be worth a look.
Financial Select SPDR (NYSE: XLF) We'll leave the comments about the age difference to the morality police, but Upton has been rumored to be romantically involved with New York Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez. For better or worse, the financial services sector is the industry that is often most associated with New York City. Plus, if the S&P 500 is really going higher, XLF's constituents are going to have to get in on the act.
iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (NYSE: EWA) The largest of the Australia-specific ETFs, the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund makes the list for two reasons. First, part of the swimsuit issue was shot down under. Second, EWA is a good barometer of just how intense the risk on trade really is. Not to mention Australia still has an AAA credit rating.
Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (NYSE: VEU) The Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF is a legitimate swimsuit issue play because not all of the issue is shot in the U.S. and not all of the models are American. There's a big world out there beyond the cozy confines of U.S. borders and VEU helps investors play that theme. If VEU can find support in the $43 consider a small position and then add into it on a move above $45.
Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSE: RSX) We mentioned RSX earlier, but Irina Shayk is also featured in this year's issue. Maybe RSX and rivals like the SPDR S&P Russia ETF (NYSE: RBL) will get their swimsuit surge a year late. It might be best to consider the iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund (NYSE: ERUS) if that happens because that's the best performing of the Russia ETF trio year-to-date.
Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap ETF (NYSE: BRF) The search for other ETFs with which to access Brazil has to include BRF. BRF's inclusion on this list comes because of Brazilian-born Izabel Goulart is found in the swimsuit issue. Or does it? The reality is BRF has been a stalwart performer to start the year and the fact that ETF does NOT hold Petrobras (NYSE: PBR) could once prove to be a positive.
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