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Top Emerging Market ETFs of First Half 2017

Sanghamitra Saha

Emerging market (EM) ETFs have had a great run this year (as of June 29, 2017) with iShares MSCI Emerging Markets EEM returning over 18%. The segment is doing well on improving global economic fundamentals and accommodative developed market central banks that are still keeping interest rates low and driving investors toward the relatively high-yielding EM bloc.

Some of other reasons for this outperformance were a subdued greenback, commodity market strength and policy easing in several EM economies that facilitated growth. In fact, though EMs used to underperform in a rising rate environment in the U.S., the bloc has become a lot more insulated lately (read: Why No Taper Tantrum for EM ETFs Now).

Several analysts also believe that part of the growth momentum in the developed world has trickled down to emerging markets in the form of trade and investments. Against this backdrop, investors must be interested in knowing which EM ETFs emerged winners in the first half of 2017. The year-to-date performance of the below-mentioned funds are as of June 29, 2017.

EMQQ Emerging Markets Internet & E-Commerce ETF EMQQ – Up 38.9% YTD

Emerging market and technology are two investing concepts that were among the high-flying areas in the first half. Powered by the twin tailwinds, EMQQ– which measures the performance of the emerging market Internet and ecommerce companies – was the topper in the EM space.

After all, the e-commerce bloc has bright prospects with the advancement of technology and Internet usage. EMQQ’s solid exposure to the soaring Chinese tech sector also helped the fund to a great extent. Notably, China takes about 60% of the fund followed by South Korea (read: EMQQ -- How This Little-Known ETF Beat Amazon).

First Trust Chindia ETF FNI – Up 28.2% YTD

The fund’s focus is on China and India. Both markets were on an uptrend in the first half of 2017. Stabilization in the Chinese economy after considerable upheaval and buoyancy in the Indian economy on pro-growth reformative measures favored the fund. Plus, the fund is heavy on the information technology sector – the star of 1H17 (read: India ETFs: More Run Ahead?).

WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprise ETF XSOE – Up 24.4% YTD

The fund can entice investors having less faith in the state-owned emerging market companies, but still intending to tap the region's growth story. According to the issuer, the MSCI emerging market index generated lesser returns than the U.S. markets in previous years for which the anemic performance of the state-owned enterprises was responsible (read: This New Emerging Market ETF Avoids State-Owned Firms).

In terms of geographic exposure, China (27.5%), South Korea (16.5%) and Taiwan (11.5%) have a double-digit exposure each. Information Technology was the top sector of the fund with about one-third of total exposure.

First Trust Emerging Markets Small Cap AlphaDEX Fund FEMS – Up 22.3% YTD

The fund has a tilt toward Taiwan (30.8%) and China (13.5%) and focuses on small-cap companies of the emerging markets. Since small-cap companies better reflect the domestic market, this fund had every reason to score better when EM equities are trending up.

iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF EMGF – Up 19.5% YTD

The fund offers quality picks on the EM space. Inexpensive stocks, financially strong companies, trending stocks and relatively low market cap companies are included in the fund. China, South Korea and Taiwan are top three geographies of EMGF.

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ISHARS-EMG MKT (EEM): ETF Research Reports
EM-INTRNT&ECMRC (EMQQ): ETF Research Reports
WISDMTR-EM XSOE (XSOE): ETF Research Reports
ISHARS-FS MSCI (EMGF): ETF Research Reports
FT-ISE CHINDIA (FNI): ETF Research Reports
FT-EM MKT SC (FEMS): ETF Research Reports
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