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An Emerging Markets Bull Sings a Bearish Tune


A wide range of emerging markets exchange traded funds rallied Thursday, though those performances were not nearly enough to erase the sting of what has been a dismal start to 2014.

Even with Thursday’s upside, the 10 worst non-leveraged ETFs on a year-to-date basis are all emerging markets funds. There are some new faces on the list and the losses have been pared a bit since the group was last highlighted, but there is no getting around the developing world flair of the 10 worst list. [More Problems for the Brazil ETF]

Now emerging markets equities have to contend with one of their most strident supporters, Templeton Emerging Markets Group’s Mark Mobius, sounding a bearish tone.

“The negative sentiment is pretty much in place so you can expect a lot more selling. We are looking but actually not buying at this stage. Prices can come down or take time to stabilize,” said Mobius in an interview with Bloomberg.

Mobius, who helps manage $50 billion, has long been one of the most vocal bulls on emerging markets. Earlier this year in a blog post, the famed emerging markets investors highlighted opportunities in countries such as Brazil, China and Mexico.

The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) and two China ETFs are on the aforementioned 10 worst list.

Mobius’ less-than-enthusiastic view of developing world equities was revealed Thursday, the same day BlackRock (BLK), the world’s largest asset manager, said equity-based emerging markets ETFs lost $10 billion in assets last month. [Forgettable January for ETFs as $10B Lost]

Mobius remains bullish on frontier markets and has been adding to positions in Kenya and Nigeria, among others, according to Bloomberg. The iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (FM) is up 1.2% this year compared to an almost 8% loss for the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) . Nigeria, Africa’s second-largest economy, and Kenya combine for almost 17% of FM’s weight.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEM.