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Bank on Brazilian Banks With This Small ETF


Diversified exchange traded funds tracking Brazil, Russia, India China, the BRIC nations, turned in solid performances last week and that means Brazilian stocks have been perking. BRIC ETFs, such as the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: BKF ), are usually heavy on Brazil and China will skimping on India and Russia.

Indeed, Brazilian stocks are close to being accurately deemed “resurgent.” After falling into a bear market earlier this year, Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa has surged 19.3% since July. An increase of 20% would confirm a new bull market. Last week, the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) , the largest Brazil ETF by assets, gained 7.1%. [BRIC ETF on the Cusp of Breaking Out]

EWZ, which has $5.3 billion in assets under management, allocates 26.7% of its weight to the financial services sector, so it is not unreasonable to say Brazilian banks play an important role in steering the course for the ETF and the country’s equity market. Investors looking for a more focused play on Brazilian banks can opt for the tiny Global X Brazil Financials ETF (BRAF) , a fund that gained nearly 7% last week. [ETF Spotlight: International Financial Sector]

Three of Brazil’s largest banks – Banco Santander Brasil (BSBR), Itau Unibanco (ITUB) and Banco Bradesco (BBD) – combine for 29% of BRAF’s weight and that offers some appeal to adventurous income investors as Santander and Banco Bradesco each have dividend yields of 4.7%. BRAF itself has a yield of 4.72%, according to ETF Trends data.

While the emerging markets dividend story is still in the early innings overall, Brazil is one of the more advanced developing markets when it comes to politics because the government makes sure Brazilian firms prioritize dividends.

“In Brazil, companies are legally required to pay out at least 25% of their net profits in the form of dividends. A number of companies actually pay out more than that,” said famed emerging markets investor Mark Mobius in a post on Morningstar.

Brazilian banks also trade at a discount at relative to their U.S. peers. For example, the Financial Select Sector SPDR (XLF) has a P/E ratio of 13 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.24. BRAF has a P/E 11.84 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.15 with a dividend yield that is more than triple that of XLF’s.

A knock on BRAF is volatility. The ETF has a beta of 1.27 against the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. The ETF’s standard deviation of 30% is 385 basis points higher than the standard deviation on EWZ.

Global X Brazil Financials ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this article.


The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.