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International Low Vol ETF Shows its Mettle


At a time of lethargy for U.S. stocks and worse yet, significant retrenchment in European equities, the allure of multi-country developed market exchange traded funds has dimmed a bit.

The other side of that coin is that investors can take this opportunity to evaluate those ETFs that are holding up relatively well or acting noticeably less poorly than others. That task could turn up some ETFs that could be leaders, assuming ex-U.S. developed markets rebound.

One such idea is the PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio (IDLV) . Over the past month, IDLV is off 1.6%, but that is better than the 2.6% lost by the V anguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA) and the 4% drop for the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK) . [Troubling Signs for Europe ETFs]

IDLV has remained somewhat sturdy compared to Europe-focused ETFs because the PowerShares offering’s weight to Eurozone economies is relatively light. The ETF allocates a combined 11.4% of its weight to Germany, France and the Netherlands. Throw in the U.K., Sweden and Switzerland, and IDLV’s total Europe exposure is just over 30%.

“Based on S&P Capital IQ’s proprietary Performance Analytics we have a Marketweight outlook for IDLV generally employing inputs from S&P Capital IQ STARS, Fair Value, and Technical Indicators. We believe Quality Rank, Risk Assessment, and Credit Rating, along with Standard Deviation, are important risk measures, and we view IDLV’s Risk Considerations as Marketweight compared to other ETFs in its asset class,” said S&P Capital IQ in a new research note.

IDLV has some geographic advantages as well. The ETF’s largest country weight is 25.3% to Canada and six of the ETF’s top-10 holdings are Canadian banks. Canadian banks have solid performers this year and in most cases, feature better yields than their U.S. counterparts. [Canada ETFs Impress]

Over the past three months, the iShares MSCI Canada ETF (EWC) is up 4.1% compared to a 1.9% gain for the S&P 500 over the same period.

IDLV also features a 4.3% weight to Hong Kong, not a massive allocation, but useful at a time when the Hang Seng Index just closed at its highest levels of 2014.

IDLV tracks the S&P BMI International Developed Low Volatility Index, which is comprised “of the 200 least volatile stocks of the S&P Developed ex. US and South Korea LargeMid Cap BMI Index over the past 12 months,” according to PowerShares.

“Finally, our assessments for cost factors such as expense ratio and Price to NAV lead to a Marketweight ranking,” added S&P Capital IQ.

PowerShares S&P International Developed Low Volatility Portfolio



ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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.