The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund’s (DXJ) status as one of this year’s top asset-gathering ETFs is one sign that investors are bearish on the yen and bullish on Japanese stocks. DXJ’s rise to prominence has also shined the spotlight on the concept of currency hedged ETFs beyond those that short the yen.
WisdomTree (WETF) is among the ETF issuers that has looked to capitalize on the emerging focus on hedged currency funds by bringing new, related products to market. One of those funds is the WisdomTree United Kingdom Hedged Equity Fund (DXPS) , the DXJ equivalent for the British pound. [DXJ Gets a Small-Cap Cousin]
DXPS, which debuted in late June, is the first equity-based ETF that offers a pure hedge against fluctuations in the British pound/U.S. dollar currency pair. The new fund has gained nearly 5% since coming to market, indicating it has been the beneficiary of some good timing.
DXPS debuted around the time speculation was rising that the Bank of England was open to boosting its monetary easing efforts. Soon after, the pound fell to its lowest levels since June against the greenback. In early July, Goldman Sachs said more “unconventional easing” was likely from BoE. [Good Timing for This New ETF]
The new ETF allocates almost 19.2% of its weight to staples names and 17.4% to financials services while the energy sector chimes in at 16.3%. Top-10 holdings in DXPS include Vodafone (VOD), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), BP (BP), HSBC (HBC) and BHP Billiton (BHP).
However, the pound has gained strength. Buoyed by improving economic data, including last Friday’s news that the U.K.’s second-quarter GDP report was better than expected, the currency has risen in the past month. While the CurrencyShares British Pound Trust (FXB) is up about 1.8% in the past month, DXPS is lower by the same amount.
Part of the problem for DXPS has been currency traders embracing sterling as a safe-haven as emerging markets currencies have tumbled. “The British Pound has emerged as an unlikely top performer and perhaps safe haven du jour as few developed economies have seen the resiliency the UK economy has since May. The past week or so, the Sterling has been quite strong against the commodity complex in particular, as emerging market weakness has started to impact the entire Asia-Pacific region,” writes Christopher Vecchio for DailyFX.
DXPS could benefit later this year as new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney perhaps rolls out new easing measures and looks to suppress long-term yields on U.K. sovereign bonds.
WisdomTree United Kingdom Hedged Equity Fund
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of DXJ.
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