Editor's Note: This content was originally published on
by Todd Shriber, ETF Professor, Benzinga Staff Writer.
Knowing that folks are passionate about certain issues, let's just
clear one thing up right away.
What follows is a look at some country-specific
that track stocks in nations with female heads of state. No more,
no less. This is not a commentary on gender or any related issue.
That stuff is best left to certain mainstream media organizations.
Around here, the goal is to find profitable opportunities with
ETFs, domestic and foreign. When it comes to those ex-US,
single-country funds, politics in those countries are important.
However, the gender of the leader is not.
That said, isolating a group of noteworthy country-specific ETFs
where women are in charge is not difficult. A similar exercise was
at the end of last year
and we merely wanted to check up on how some of those ETFs have
been performing this year while adding some new ones to the list.
Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is arguably to
blame for much of her country's economic woes such as slowing
growth, soaring inflation and an albeit diminished flirtation with
a second sovereign debt default this century. However, no one in
their right mind should blame her for ARGT undergoing a
reverse split earlier this year
Regime change in Argentina could help the country realize its vast
economic potential and be a boon for ARGT at the same time. The ETF
is down 11.4% year-to-date.
iShares MSCI Brazil Capped Index Fund
To be fair to Kirchner, she is not the only South American female
leader having a rough go of things this year. Brazilian President
Dilma Rousseff, once wildly popular, is dealing with one of the
most stunning reversals in recent memory of an emerging market
going from darling to devil in short order.
At this point, it really is akin to beating a dead horse, but
Brazil, Latin America's largest economy, is being hit from all
angles. That list includes
a plunging currency, rising unemployment and high
that the central bank has used, to no avail, to stem inflation.
Regardless of the gender of Brazil's current leader, recent
anti-government protests prove ordinary Brazilians are disenchanted
with the direction their country is moving in. Investors are as
well as EWZ is down 18% in just the past month.
iShares MSCI South Korea Capped Index Fund
This year will be Park Geun-hye's first full year as South Korea's
first female president. Her timing was bad. In fact, it should be
noted that South Korea's problems have essentially been created by
leaders in other countries. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are men and guess what the
two biggest risks to South Korea's economy are. The weak yen and
the end of US quantitative easing. Heading into the start of
trading Thursday, EWY was down 11.6% in the past month, but the ETF
is up 3.5% today after South Korea boosted its 2013 GDP growth
estimate to 2.7% from 2.3%.
Other year-to-date returns for ETFs tracking countries with female
iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund
(NYSEARCA:EWA), though Julia Gillard was ousted Wednesday, down
iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund
(NYSEARCA:EWG) is up 0.6% while the
iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund
(NYSEARCA:THD) is down 5.5%.
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