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Hot Single-Country Emerging Market ETFs


Emerging market economies are most commonly accessed through broad-based funds such as the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) . There are various single-country ETFs that have performed well in 2012, and give targeted exposure to a desired emerging economy.

In 2012 countries such as India, Turkey and Mexico have exceeded expectations and could continue this performance into the new year.

“In the past month, the iShares Emerging Markets Index has outperformed the total return (dividends reinvested) of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. The Emerging Markets Index is up 7%, compared to 4% for the main barometer of U.S. stocks. Over the past year, the indexes have closely tracked each other,” Steven Sears wrote for Barron’s. Investors can expect emerging markets to produce good economic growth going into 2013.

Turkey, and its related exchange traded fund, was the best-performing emerging market in Europe this year. The iShares MSCI Turkey Index (TUR) gained about 60% in 2012, while EEM surged 14.17%. The country benefited from economic stimulus around the world, by increasing global liquidity and bringing investors into a “risk-on” mind-set toward emerging markets, reports Trang Ho for Investor’s Business Daily. [Turkey ETF Outperforming in Emerging Markets]

The recent investment-grade credit ratings from Fitch, healthy banking system and low employment rate will help the country to continue solid performance next year. The geopolitical risk is one of the major setbacks of the country and remains one of the risks for investing in the otherwise ripe economy.

“This means deleveraging will not be a head wind to growth in Turkey, unlike in developed markets,” Kalus-Bystricky, who manages $78 million between her two funds, said in the report. “I believe this makes Turkey’s growth more sustainable as well as more valuable relative to what is available in developed markets.” She believes Turkey’s stock market has at least 30% upside.

Despite lower growth estimates, India is still expected to be a strong emerging market. The economy is sensitive to foreign investment, with domestic demand also a background driver. The recent reform seen in India’s parliament is expected to help the government go forward within the retail sector, while promoting liberalization and foreign capital investment.

The S&P India Nifty 50 Index Fund is up about 27% this year. The limited trade with Europe has helped the Indian economy withstand the global economic downturn and should support growth in 2013. A GDP rate of 5.3% is targeted in 2012, while the country is trying hard to dodge a credit downgrade. [India ETFs Rise on Reform, Goldman Bulls]

Mexico has been making headline for drug trafficking and government corruption,  however, the economy managed to maintain growth in 2012. The  iShares MSCI Mexico Investable Market Index (EWW) is up 35% this year, while the Mexican peso has remained strong. The peso has gained 7.8% year-to-date. The export market remains an area of strength for this economy.

Inflationary pressure is the biggest threat to the economy, with the current rate at 4.2%. A 2%-4% rate is targeted in the coming year. [Mexico Shines in Latin American ETFs]

iShares MSCI Turkey Index

ETFs, TUR, Emerging Markets, EWW, EWM, INDY

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own EEM.

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.