Buy Brazil ETFs as World Cup Bets

ETF Trends

The 2014 World Cup kicks off on Thursday, June 12 when host nation Brazil takes on Croatia. Investors may want to consider the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) and related Brazil ETFs as World Cup wagers rather than placing bets online or with their local bookmaker.

Seriously. Goldman Sachs says Brazil has a 48% chance of winning its sixth World Cup title and if it does, Goldman expects Brazilian equities to rally in the weeks following the tournament final, Scott Hamilton reports for Bloomberg.

The victor country’s equity markets outperform global stocks by 3.5 percent on average in the first month after winning, “although the outperformance fades significantly after three months,” Bloomberg reports, citing Goldman.

EWZ, the largest ETF tracking Latin America’s largest economy, is up 9% year-to-date making it the second-best of the four major single-country ETFs tracking BRIC nations. Only the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI) has been better than EWZ. [Value Shift in Emerging Markets]

With odds of 3/1, according to Sky Bet, Brazil is the prohibitive favorite to win the World Cup followed by Argentina at 9/2.

On the surface, it would appear easy to dismiss the impact the result of an international football match can have on a country’s equity markets, but data prove otherwise. In a 2007 paper published in The Journal of Finance ,Wharton Professor Alex Edmans, Diego Garcia of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and Oyvind Norli of the Norwegian School of Management looked at equity market changes tied to sudden changes in investors’ moods.

Specifically, the paper examined investors’ moods in the days immediately following major international sports matches, including football (not the American version), cricket and rugby. The paper examined investor sentiment following 1,162 international soccer matches, 638 wins and 542 losses.

“For the sample of soccer countries, 181,796 trading days are not associated with a soccer match. The average return and standard deviation for these days are 5.8 and 144.9 basis points, respectively. The average return on days after an international soccer win is positive (5.0 basis points), but negative and significantly lower on days following a loss (−18.4 basis points). The standard deviation of returns is slightly higher after game days than for other days, but the difference is only minor. Looking across the different cups and stages in the competition, it is apparent that the loss effect is most pronounced for World Cup games and elimination games in general,” according to the paper.

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