After weakening on fear over an end to easy money, emerging market stocks and exchange traded funds hit a seven-week low Tuesday on geopolitical tensions and possible U.S. military intervention in Syria.
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) fell 2.3% to close at $37.35 Tuesday, its lowest level since July 5, but the fund was up 0.4% Wednesday. EEM is down 14.7% year-to-date. [Investors Dump Emerging Market ETFs]
The equities market sold off on speculation that the U.S. government will initialize a military response to the alleged chemical weapon usage in Syria.
“There must be a response,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, reports Saumya Vaishampayan for MarketWatch. “What form that response will take is what the president is assessing now.”
The bellicose rhetoric was especially hard on markets closest to Syria.
“The significant prospect of official US-led intervention against Syria following the suspicious use of chemical weapons against its population by the [Bashar al-] Assad regime is knocking the stuffing out of North African and Middle-Eastern stock prices,” Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak & Co., said in the article.
Meanwhile, countries with current-account deficits, like India, Turkey, Indonesia and Brazil, have also experienced heavy sell-offs as funding for deficits become much harder with investors moving toward safe-haven currencies and talks about the Fed easing back on its accommodative measures. [India ETFs Fall 5% as Rupee Hits Fresh Record Low]
“It’s not a crime to have a current-account deficit, but funding the current account is very sensitive to liquidity conditions,” Steven Englander, global head of G10 foreign-exchange strategy at Citi, said in the article. “We’re talking about a world where there’s been tremendous liquidity for years now, ever since the financial crisis. The liquidity has made it easy to borrow in high-risk asset markets.”
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF
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Max Chen contributed to this article.
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own EEM.
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