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4 Best-Performing Country ETFs of 2019

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Stocks around the globe have performed exceptionally well this year, braving trade gyrations and recession fears. Notably, the MSCI All-Country World Index, which tracks shares across 47 countries, has climbed about 20% so far. Every major global index has risen throughout the year, with many breaching record highs as central banks moved to easy money policies to prop up economic growth.

The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates three times this year while the European Central Bank cut interest rates with a new round of bond purchases in a package of easing measures. Meanwhile, the Japanese government plans to finalize an economic stimulus package of $120 billion to support the economy. Australia, New Zealand as well as most developing and emerging economies including Indonesia, Korea, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, India and Brazil have joined the easing spree (read: Japan ETFs in Spotlight as Economy Beats Growth Estimates).

Further, the upside to the stocks was driven by U.S.-China trade deal optimism though uncertainty lingers.  

While there have been winners in many corners of the world, we highlight four top-performing country ETFs that are up more than 30%. Any of these could be excellent plays for investors seeking to ride out the current market concerns:

Global X MSCI Greece ETF (GREK - Free Report)

The Greece stock market is the best performing in the world this year. This is primarily thanks to a resurgent economy and an improving political environment. The once downtrodden Mediterranean economy has now recovered from a decade-long debt crisis. Greece’s new government policies to attract foreign direct investment, including tax cuts and privatization of state-owned industries such as the country’s ports and utilities, have led to further strength.

As a result, GREK, which tracks the MSCI All Greece Select 25/50 Index, has climbed nearly 43% in the year-to-date timeframe. It is home to a small basket of 33 companies with heavy concentration on the top three firms. Financials takes the top spot at 30.4% in terms of sector holdings, followed by energy (17%), consumer discretionary (15.6%) and communication services (12.4%). The product has amassed $323.9 million in its asset base and trades in solid volume of around 472,000 shares per day. It charges 59 bps in fees per year from investors but has a Zacks ETF Rank #4 (Sell) with a High risk outlook (read: Best & Worst ETF Areas of Last Week).

iShares MSCI Russia ETF (ERUS - Free Report)

Russian stocks have been on a tear due to higher global risk appetite and search for juicy yields amid interest rate cuts. Additionally, these stocks benefited from a pause in the implementation of new U.S. or EU sanctions. ERUS offers broad exposure to Russia’s stock market by tracking the MSCI Russia 25 / 50 Index. It holds 25 socks in its basket with heavy concentration on the top three firms. Energy takes the largest share at 48.8% while materials and financials round off the next two spots with double-digit exposure each. The product has AUM of $607.9 million and charges 59 bps in annual fees. It trades in average daily volume of 244,000 shares and has gained 41.8% so far this year. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a High risk outlook.

Global X MSCI China Information Technology ETF (CHIK - Free Report)

Though tariff threats are looming large, Chinese stocks have been rising on optimism about a possible trade deal with the United States. An improvement in the Chinese economy and a raft of stimulus measures added to the strength. As a result, CHIK has risen 41% this year. This fund offers exposure to the information technology sector of China market by tracking the MSCI China Information Technology 10/50 Index. It holds 85 stocks in its basket with modest concentration on the top five firms. This fund has accumulated $1.9 million in its asset base and trades in a light average daily volume of 1,000 shares. It charges 65 bps in annual fees and has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (read: China ETFs Surge: Will the Upside Continue?).

iShares MSCI Brazil Small-Cap ETF (EWZS - Free Report)

Brazil stocks have gained on an easing political climate and improving economy backed by higher consumer spending and business investment. Notably, the Brazilian economy expanded at the fastest pace since the start of 2018 in the third quarter. EWZS is the biggest winner in the space, surging about 36.3% so far this year. This ETF provides targeted exposure to the Brazilian small-cap stocks by tracking the MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index. The fund holds 77 stocks in its basket and charges investors 59 bps in fees per year. It has accumulated $137.6 million in its asset base and trades in average daily volume of 74,000 shares. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a High risk outlook.

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