Krazy For Kurdistan? Try These ETFs (IXC, EWUS, XOM)
It may have flown under the radar on Tuesday what with the Fed news and stocks soaring to multi-year highs, but Total (NYSE: TOT), Europe's third-largest oil company, said it's in discussions to do business in Iraq's oil-rich autonomous Kurdistan region.
The French oil giant has has good reasons get involved in Kurdistan. Actually, any oil giant does. The reasons are numerous as in 40 billion. That's right, by some estimates the Kurdistan region may be home to over 40 billion barrels of oil reserves.
And that's exactly why Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM), the largest U.S. oil company, inked a Kurdistan exploration deal in October 2011.
Jokes about places ending in "stan" aside, Kurdistan is a legitimate oil prospect and for the indecisive among us, there are plenty of ETFs that are also worthy Kurdistan plays.
iShares MSCI United Kingdom Small Cap Index Fund (NYSE: EWUS) We're going to start the Kurdistan ETF play list with the iShares MSCI United Kingdom Small Cap Index Fund, a new ETF that is also a stretch play on the Kurdistan investment theme. There is one reason EWUS makes this list: An allocation, albeit small, to Gulf Keystone Petroleum, a British oil junior, that has already been the subject of takeover rumors due to its Kurdistan exposure. Potential suitors for Gulf Keystone Petroleum can be found in the iShares MSCI UK Index Fund (NYSE: EWU).
iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund (NYSE: IXC) The iShares S&P Global Energy Sector Index Fund makes the list because of its combined allocation of more than 19% to Exxon and Total. IXC also features smaller weights to other Kurdistan players such as Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and Hess (NYSE: HES), among others. When it comes to IXC, note that Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A), the largest European oil company and 4.5% of IXC's weight, pulled out of Kurdistan talks last year.
iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: TUR) The iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund has just a 5.1% weight to the energy sector, but a couple of the ETF's energy holdings do have Kurdistan footprints. In other words, Kurdistan probably won't move the needle much for TUR, but there are other reasons to be long this emerging markets ETF.
Global X China Energy ETF (NYSE: CHIE) Sinopec (NYSE: SNP), Asia's largest refiner and China's second-largest oil company, has a decent Kurdistan presence and it just so happens that stock is the largest holding in the Global X China Energy ETF, accounting for over 11% of the fund's weight. Enough said.
EGShares Energy GEMS ETF (NYSE: OGEM) Thinly traded, the EGShares Energy GEMS ETF is home to several Kurdistan players, but the one that's really intriguing is Mol Nyrt, Hungary's largest refiner. Apparently, Mol's Kurdistan story isn't yet fully appreciated as Bloomberg reports. That could mean more upside in the future for Mol and OGEM.
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