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Low Volatility ETFs Lead EM Rebound

With highly popular diversified emerging markets ETFs such as the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) still sitting on double-digit year-to-date losses, it is tough to say these funds are really in rebound mode. However, it is fair to say VWO and others have been less bad over the past several weeks.

Over the past month, VWO and the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) , with the benefit of decent showings Wednesday, have eked out modest gains. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility ETF (EEMV) has been better with a one-month gain of 1.2%, a performance that is not too surprising when considering EEMV has lived up to its low volatility. The dominant name among low volatility emerging markets ETFs is down just 4.2% this year while IEMG is off nearly 11%. [Low Volatility ETFs for Emerging Markets]

EEMV’s position as a low volatility alternative to traditional emerging markets funds could make the ETF an interesting pick for investors looking to dodge violent swings while betting on a recovery in developing world equities. Some see that recovery materializing in the back half of this year and into 2014. [Low Volatility ETFs Still Popular With Risk Averse Investors]

S&P Capital IQ “notes that the developing world is seen growing 5.7% next year, up from an estimated 5% in 2013 as India, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Indonesia, Russia, South Africa and Turkey are all seen quickening their pace of expansion ,” according to a research note issued by the firm.

No one would say Chinese stocks have been standouts this year, but some ETFs tracking the world’s second-largest economy have perked in recent weeks, benefiting EEMV due to the fund’s almost 17% allocation to the country. Taiwan, a market low on energy and commodities names and one prized for its reputation for being one of the calmer investable Asian markets, has also contributed to EEMV’s recent upside. That country is nearly 13 of the ETF’s weight. [An Asian ETF Standout]

There is one low volatility emerging market that EEMV skimps on: Malaysia. Malaysia, like Taiwan, has proven resilient compared to other emerging markets, but EEMV has a mere 4.1% weight to Malaysia. Investors looking for Malaysian exposure under a low volatility umbrella should try the the PowerShares S&P Emerging Markets Low Volatility Portfolio (EELV). EELV has an almost 17.3% weight to Malaysia, its second-largest country weight behind Taiwan.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility ETF

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.