International stocks have been the real winners this year courtesy of cheap valuations and improving economic growth in many parts of the world. After outperforming in the first half, these stocks continued to outstrip the U.S. equity world since the start of the second half (see: all the World ETFs here).
This is especially true as Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU - Free Report) , targeting the international equity market, has gained about 3% compared with growth of 1.9% for iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI - Free Report) , which targets the global stock market, including the United States and 0.7% for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY - Free Report) .
Strong corporate earnings, rise in metal prices, impressive rally in emerging markets, support from central bank across the globe and weak dollar are propelling the stocks higher. The recent chaos in Washington, including word of wars with North Korea, doubts over implementation of Trump’s agenda as well as debt-ceiling fears, added to further strength in the international markets lately (read: Politics & Geopolitics Loom: Short S&P 500 with These ETFs).
The lure of international bourses is likely to remain in the coming months given the Trump turmoil and the prospect to end the cheap monetary policy era, especially in Europe. The tightening policy will be in line with the Fed and push the U.S. dollar lower and other currencies higher, making international investing tempting.
Given this, we have highlighted the best-performing international ETFs to start the second half. Any of these strong momentum plays could be a compelling choice for investors, provided the same economic trends persist.
Global X Brazil Consumer ETF (BRAQ - Free Report)
Apart from improving fundamentals, Brazilian stocks are gaining from the latest government step of Eletrobras Privatization that has raised consumer confidence in the state-run firms. As such, BRAQ is leading with gains of nearly 29% since the start of the second half. The fund offers exposure to a basket of 34 stocks that operate within the consumer discretionary and consumer staples sectors in Brazil. It tracks the Solactive Brazil Consumer Index, charging investors 77 bps in annual fees. The product has been able to manage just $6.5 million in its asset base and has a Zacks ETF Rank of #4 (Sell) with a High risk outlook.
KraneShares CSI China Internet Fund (KWEB - Free Report)
This ETF is benefiting from the dual tailwinds of emerging market lead and a surge in technology sector. It provides a concentrated exposure to the Chinese Internet market by tracking the CSI China Overseas Internet Index. In total, the fund holds 35 securities in its basket with heavy concentration on the top three firms. The technology sector makes up for a substantial 60% of total assets, while consumer discretionary takes the remainder with just 2.5% allotted to industrials. The ETF has amassed $799.3 million in its asset base and charges 72 bps in annual fees from investors. KWEB has gained 18.7% so far in the second half of the year and currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a High risk outlook (read: Here's Why China Tech ETFs Are Surging).
iShares Latin America 40 ETF (ILF - Free Report)
This ETF offers exposure to the 42 largest Latin American stocks with Brazilian securities on the top accounting for 56.6% share. Mexico and Chile make up for the next two spots with 26.3% and 10.7% share, respectively. From a sector look, more than one-third of the portfolio is dominated by financials while materials, consumer staples and energy receive double-digit exposure each. ILF has AUM of $1.1 billion and an expense ratio of 0.49%. It has added 14% since the start of the second half and a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a High risk outlook.
Global X MSCI Nigeria ETF (NGE - Free Report)
The Nigerian stock market gained traction in the second half thanks to bargain hunting, positive earnings expectations and improved economic data. This fund invests in the largest and most liquid companies in Nigeria and follows the MSCI All Nigeria Select 25/50 Index. It holds 23 stocks in its basket with the top three firms dominating the portfolio with 44% of assets. Other securities hold no more than 5.02% share. From a sector look, financials takes the top spot with 51% share, closely followed by consumer staples at 37%. The product has amassed $66.6 million in its asset base and charges 68 bps in annual fees. It has added 13.8% so far in the second half and has a Zacks ETF Rank #5 (Strong Sell) with a High risk outlook (read: ETF Winners & Losers from MSCI Index Review).
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