Egypt, Turkey and the Philippines ETFs have outperformed all
global markets this year, rallying 30% to 66% year to date. Where
should ETF investors travel in the fourth quarter? ETF investment
advisers share their top destinations for Q4.
Michael Gayed, chief investment strategist at Pension
Partners in New York with $150 million in assets:
2012 has been a fascinating year from the psychological
standpoint. The negative sentiment over Europe has been so
powerful that fears of a repeat of 2008 forced money into "safe"
investments, punishing growth (stocks) in ways not seen since the
The problem of course is that a Lehman-like event has not
happened, causing a massive disconnect between price and the
The area most hit because of Europe has ironically not been
Europe, but rather emerging markets, which export to Europe. This
has resulted in a major opportunity, given that 1) it is clear
that although Europe is in a recession it will still exist, and
2) many emerging economies have aggressively lowered their own
interest rates in response to the global slowdown.
The European Central Bank has made it clear that the risk of a
financial collapse will be mitigated by money printing.
Furthermore, because interest rate cuts tend to act with a lag on
the economy, the easing cycle may just be about to have an impact
on those emerging markets, which have been cutting their own
respective interest rates in the last year or so.
With the U.S. market having outperformed this year, it would
make sense for emerging market stocks to now play catch up.
The move likely gets driven by hedge fund money, which has
badly underperformed the S&P 500 this year. The only way to
catch up to the S&P 500 is by going into those areas that are
down the most relative to the S&P 500 on a
Leveraged buying into beaten-down investments by hedge funds
could result in a period of outperformance for China, Brazil,
Russia, and India in the fourth quarter.
Broad-based emerging market ETFs, such asSchwab Emerging
Markets Equity (
), are a great way of playing the comeback theme.
Leila Heckman, managing director of The Roosevelt
Investment Group in New York with $5 billion in AUM:
Given the low interest-rate environment worldwide, we feel
that "risky" assets are attractive. Global equity valuations as
measured by forecast 2012 price-to-earnings ratios are at
historically low levels and dividend yields in the U.S. as well
as foreign markets are above U.S. 10-year Treasury yields.
Global earnings growth remains positive, despite downward
revisions. To decide which equity markets to emphasize, we look
at such things as valuation, growth, risk and price momentum. We
like cheap markets where sovereign (debt) yields have not widened
out over the last several years.
We also like equity markets where forecast GDP growth is being
revised upward, not downward. Markets where GDP forecasts are
going up are hard to find in our slow-growth world environment.
We also like markets in which export prices are rising relative
As of September, the following ETFs look attractive when we
combine all the things that we consider. We've overweighted them
for the fourth quarter:iShares MSCI Germany Index (
),iShares MSCI France Index (
),iShares MSCI Norway (ENOR),iShares MSCI Poland (
),iShares MSCI Russia (
),iShares MSCI Turkey (TUR) andiShares MSCI Thailand (THD).
Keith Newcomb, portfolio manager at Full Life Financial
Emerging Asia is benefiting from attractive monetary policy,
higher economic growth rates, some of the lowest valuations in
the world and improving risk appetite.
IShares MSCI Hong Kong Index (EWH) is in a potential new
uptrend following a breakout and has reasonable valuations.
SPDR S&P Emerging Asia Pacific ETF (GMF) represents the
leading undervalued emerging markets: China, Taiwan, India,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia. Its P-E of 12
is a discount of 20% to the S&P 500. It appears to be in the
process of breaking out of a multimonth consolidation pattern.
For a deeper value,SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC) is trading at a
P-E of 9, a 38% discount to the S&P 500.
China is the world's second-largest and fastest-growing major
economy, yet its stock markets have made little to no progress
for the last two years or more, with some sectors down by double
There are many rational reasons to avoid investing in
developing Asia: 1. China and Europe's slowdown could drag on for
several more years; 2. territorial disputes; and 3. misallocation
of capital resulting in overcapacity and excess inventories.
Officials are well aware of the issues and are taking steps to
fix these problems. Chinese leaders are traveling the globe,
building friendships to pave the way for Chinese investment on
every continent. When commodity prices collapsed in 2008, China
swooped in and secured resource deals in Africa and elsewhere in
the southern hemisphere.
Today, with many European businesses struggling, China has
quietly made hundreds of strategic acquisitions and investments
that bring the nation not only important technology and brands
but also international sales organizations and people with
management and technical expertise. These shrewd moves are
positioning Chinese industry for a more prominent role in global
Charles Sizemore, principal of Sizemore Capital
Management in Dallas with $10 million AUM:
Investors and entrepreneurs are shifting their attention to
the next big growth market: Africa. In a year in which growth
forecasts have been slashed across the globe, Africa has been
surprisingly resilient. The International Monetary Fund forecasts
that Africa's growth rate will be 5.4% this year and 5.3% in
2013. For a continent best known for its chronic civil wars and
HIV epidemic, that's not half bad.
The African continent has a population of over a billion
people, making it bigger than the U.S. and European Union
combined. The World Bank estimates that 47% of Sub-Saharan
Africans live on less than $1.25 per day. Living standards are
higher in North Africa, though it's no stranger to poverty
India, which has been a favorite emerging market for years,
has nearly comparable levels of poverty. China had similar levels
of poverty a few decades ago.
Market Vectors Africa Index ETF (AFK) covers the entire
continent. AFK has more than 40% of its assets in financials,
which is a little higher than what I would ideally like to see.
But it also has a healthy allocation to consumer companies such
as Nigerian Breweries or Maroc Telecom.