No Tapering A Boon For These EM ETFs
The Federal Reserve's no tapering announcement was big news for the emerging markets complex.
Still, all the damage incurred by emerging markets ETFs, due in large part to speculation of tapering, could not be undone in a single trading day and many marquee emerging markets funds are still sporting year-to-date losses.
With tapering out of the conversation, at least for now, the emerging markets rally that started a few weeks ago has the green light to continue. Identifying the ETFs that stand to benefit the most in a no tapering world is critical. Fortunately, it is not that difficult. Start with the following ETFs.
iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (NYSE: EWY)
The iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF makes for an obvious no-tapering winner and not just because the fund was up 10 percent before Wednesday. With Wednesday's Fed-induced gains, EWY is now higher by 4.5 percent over the past month.
EWY, the largest South Korea ETF, could keep building on those gains because prior to the no tapering announcement, policymakers and central bankers there acknowledged loss of U.S. stimulus was one of the two biggest risks facing Asia's fourth-largest economy.
The other is the weak yen, but in the case of South Korean stocks, losing one of the two major headwinds is better than not losing either. Bolstering the case for EWY despite the recent run-up is that South Korean stocks remain cheap relative to some other, more volatile emerging markets. EWY is just two percent below its 52-week high and if the ETF can make a new high, it will turn positive on a year-to-date basis.
PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio (NYSE: PIE)
In the first quarter, nearly every pundit that was given airtime or that had access to a keyboard had something negative to say about emerging markets. The deep flaw in that argument at the time was that they were emphasizing the struggles of the BRIC nations while ignoring robust equity market performances in places like Indonesia, Thailand and Turkey. By doing that, they ignored PIE's impressive out-performance of rival diversified emerging markets ETFs.
However, PIE could not skirt the tapering carnage wrought on emerging markets. In mid-June, 47 percent of the fund's weight was allocated to Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Turkey, markets that were slammed by tapering volatility.
Indonesia is still PIE's second-largest country weight at 11.2 percent and while no tapering will not immediately fix the country's current account deficit, PIE is positioned to take advantage of the Fed's gifts. South Korea is the ETF's largest country weight at 13.3 percent and a 9.3 percent weight to South Africa could prove useful, particularly if there is follow-through on the long precious metals trade now that investors do not need to worry about imminent tapering.
Tapering speculation started just weeks after the Borsa Istanbul National 100 surged to its highest levels in at least 25 years and soon after Moody's Investors Service gave Turkey an investment-grade credit rating. From May 24 through August 26, TUR plunged almost 32 percent. Logically speaking, TUR should benefit with tapering gone. In fact, the ETF is already up almost 11 percent in the past month.
Additionally, Turkish equities are cheap. The MSCI Turkey Index has a P/E ratio of 9.1 compared to its 10-year average 10.9. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index currently trades with a P/E of 11.3.
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Disclosure: Author is long PIE.
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