For much of this year, it has been said the U.S. is the “cleanest dirty shirt” or the “best house on the block.” Indeed, U.S. equities have impressed, but so have other markets and that list is comprised of more than just Japan.
With an eye toward 2014, investors should start evaluating some of the ex-U.S. markets that could deliver strong returns in the new year. David Garff of Accuvest likes Japan, among others. “He thinks the fundamentals are still good, the valuations are OK at about 16x earning and the momentum is undeniable,” according to Jeff Macke for Breakout on Yahoo Finance.
Due to the slumping yen and emerging signs Japan is starting to win a multi-decade long battle with deflation, the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ) has been one of this year’s best ETFs both in terms of performance and asset-gathering proficiency. The db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DBJP) has impressed as well with gain of over 41%. [Slumping Yen a Boon for Japan ETFs]
Garff is also bullish on China, which has received ample attention for its recent reforms and for having some of the lowest valuations in the emerging world. He “says the communists running the country are getting their act together in terms of controlling the massive Chinese economy. Not that anyone could tell for sure given the Chinese government’s rather casual approach to financial accounting,” according to Macke.
Accuvest is the firm behind the actively managed AdvisorShares Accuvest Global Opportunities ETF (ACCU) . ACCU attempts to beat notable global benchmarks “by selecting a portfolio of U.S. listed country-specific exchange traded funds (ETFs), using a proprietary multi-factor country ranking model designed to identify countries whose markets may outperform other world equity markets,” according to AdvisorShares.
ACCU currently holds six ETFs, including the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) , iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI) and the iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (ERUS) . Garff nots “you can buy the average Russian company for five times earnings or four and a half times forward earnings.”
Russian stocks typically trade at a discount to the broader emerging markets universe, but this year, those stocks have been found trading at noticeable discounts to their historical averages. For most of 2013, however, investors have not been seduced by those low valuations as ERUS is lower by nearly 11%. [Oil Still an Issue for Russia ETFs]
Garff is bearish on Chile, noting Accuvest is short the South American country in a long/short portfolio, “but avoiding it is just fine, too.” The iShares MSCI Chile Capped ETF (ECH) is down more than 28% this year.
iShares MSCI Chile Capped ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of DXJ.
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.