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Overseas ETF Plays with Good Value


Investors who want to capture affordable investment markets in 2013 should check out Italy, Argentina and South Korea. All three countries have a focused exchange traded fund that feature attractive valuations.

“At this time last year, we were at an all-time high in terms of the ratio of assets allocated to domestic versus international stocks in our diversified growth strategy. Now, we’re taking a much more balanced approach,” says Stephen Cucchiaro, Windhaven’s chief investment officer. The Boston-based asset manager enters 2013 with nearly twice as big of an international allocation in its most moderate investment strategy than a year ago, Murray Coleman wrote for The WSJ.

International equities around the world did finish out 2012 markedly higher, despite the global debt woes and geopolitical tensions. Eric Dutram for Zacks reports that the U.S. ranks about in the middle among developed nations analyzed for total stock market valuations. There are a few more options out there for investors who want cheaper valuations with a broad-based approach.

In 2012, Italy was making headlines for crazy bond rates and snail-like growth within the economy, Valuations for Italian stocks failed to rebound by years’ end, but the iShares MSCI Italy Index (EWI) gave back about 20%. Valuations in the Italian stock market are lower than any other European nation, indicating there is room for more growth this year. [ETFs for an Improving Europe]

Argentina had a quiet economic front in 2012 and the nationalization of the biggest oil company depressed the Global X FTSE Argentina 20 ETF (ARGT) . In contrast to EWI, ARGT ended 2012 down 20%. The low valuation of the stock market and the exposure to sectors such as consumer staples and telecom are a plus. [Argentina ETF Falls on YPF Nationalization]

South Korea is dependent upon the economic health of other nations, and was considered “developed” as of 2012. iShares MSCI South Korea Index (EWY) is heavy in information technology and consumer discretionary, which makes it a “safer” Asian market play. Over the past 6 months in 2012, the ETF gained 18.4%. [The Bullish Case for South Korea ETF]

iShares MSCI Italy Index


Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

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.