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BRIC ETFs Look Really Inexpensive


Buoyed by the leadership of Brazilian and Indian stocks along with the recent resurgence of Chinese stocks, dedicated BRIC exchange funds have posted some solid gains this year.

For example, the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (BKF) and the SPDR S&P BRIC 40 ETF (BIK) are up an average of 7.1% while the Guggenheim BRIC ETF (EEB) is higher by 6%. Yet even with those gains, BRIC ETFs remain well-off their pre-crisis highs. More important to the near-term outlook is that these ETFs are also inexpensive relative to the broader emerging markets universe. [BRIC ETFs Survive Brazil Weakness]

The Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM ), the two largest emerging markets ETFs by assets, trade at 12 times forward earnings, a considerable discount to the average forward P/E of 15 over the last 15 years, according to Y Charts.

BIK, the State Street BRIC offering, trades with a P/E of just 8.5 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.8, according to issuer data. The $172 million is China-heavy with almost 55.7% of its weight in Chinese stocks. Another 18.4% goes to Russia, giving BIK considerable exposure to two of the least expensive emerging markets.

Chinese equities show steep discounts relative to U.S. stocks, trading at about 9 times companies’ forecast earnings and below 11 times expected earnings for Asia.

BIK could see a reduction in its Russia exposure as the ETF’s index provider, S&P Dow Jones Indices, is in talks with clients about possible adjustments to over 90 indices with exposure to Russian securities in the wake of increased economic sanctions against the country. [S&P Talks With Clients About Index Exposure to Russia]

EEB, the Guggenheim BRIC ETF, is inexpensive as well. The fund had a P/E of just 10.4 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.2 at the end of the second quarter, according to issuer data.

Like its BRIC ETF rivals, EEB is relatively light on Indian stocks, but the fund is comparatively heavy on Russian equities with a 25.3% weight to the “R” in BRIC. Deep discounts on state-run oil companies have propped up EEB this year as the ETF allocates over 53% of its combined weight to energy and oil and gas names.



Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEM.