Most Searched ETFs: Going Global

ETF Trends

Geopolitical tensions were high this week after a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down in Ukraine and Israeli ground forces advanced toward the Gaza Strip. U.S. stocks endured to finish the week in solid form as the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched a triple-digit gain on Friday while the S&P 500 was mostly flat for the week.

With the spike in global tensions, it would be reasonable to expect that a swath of international exchange traded funds line this week’s rendition of the most searched ETFs. That is in fact the case, but the global ETFs investors showed interest in were not plays on Eastern Europe or the Middle East.

When we did our weekly search data analysis late Friday, the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) and the EGShares India Infrastructure Index Fund (INXX) were locked in a tight battle for top honors among the most searched international ETFs. And with good reasons.

INXX got a lift earlier in the week after the Reserve Bank of India revealed plans to exempt issuers of infrastructure bonds from previous reserve requirements. [India Infrastructure ETF Gets a Lift]

On Friday, EWZ surged 3.4% on volume that was more than double the daily average after another poll showed waning support for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the country’s Oct. 5 elections. The largest Brazil ETF closed above $50 for the first time since October 2013. [Short Rousseff, Long Brazil ETFs Works Again]

There were some newcomers among the most searched global ETFs this week with the db X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares Fund (ASHR) making its first appearance in some time and the SPDR S&P Emerging Asia Pacific ETF (GMF) making its first ever appearance. Seven emerging Asian countries are represented in GMF, led by a 36.4% weight to China. The others are Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. There is a noticeable absence on that list: South Korea. [A Jewel of Asia]

Coming back to the U.S., a familiar face led searches for all U.S.-focused AND sector ETFs, that being the Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) . We suspect the predictable spike in oil prices prompted an increase in searches for XLE and rival ETFs. “West Texas Intermediate has climbed 3.2 percent since July 15, when it dropped below $100 for the first time in two months,” reports Mark Shenk for Bloomberg.

The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) absorbed a weekly loss, but mustered a 3% gain on Friday and finished as the week’s second most searched sector ETF after XLE.

Other highly searched U.S. ETFs include another batch of familiar names, such as the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV) . The most searched broad market ETF for the week is one of the best mid-cap ETFs over the past several years. The WisdomTree MidCap Earnings Fund (EZM) is that fund. The WisdomTree MidCap Earnings Index (WTMEI), EZM’s underlying index, outpacing 99% of open-end peer funds over the past five years, according to Morningstar data.

This week’s most searched bond funds are the PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND) and the SPDR Barclays Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF (BWZ).

iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF

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Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of BOND.

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