Emerging market stocks have been red-hot over the past year amid a global rise in asset prices fueled by economic confidence. As a result, exchange-traded funds that track these companies have become an increasingly bigger focus among investor portfolio decisions.
The most common starting place in the hunt for emerging market exposure are the largest and most well-known funds in this group. The Vanguard FTSE Emerging Market ETF (VWO), for instance, has over $68 billion dedicated to a diverse group of nearly 5,000 stocks spread throughout the globe. China, Taiwan, India, and Brazil dominate the top country rankings in this broad index for a miserly cost of just 0.14% annually to own.
In this month’s video, I look at the overall trends in global stock markets with particular emphasis on the U.S. dollar impact. Chart review includes analysis of U.S. stocks, international stocks, interest rates, oil prices, and volatility. Observations of risk and reward are noted throughout, with an emphasis on trend following and sensible portfolio management strategies. Recorded on July 26, 2017.
Emerging market stocks have been the perennial underdog for the last half decade. Their persistent underperformance has been blamed on commodity fluctuations, currency woes, and a host of other fundamental headwinds. Nevertheless, these regional stocks are making a bold statement in the first quarter of 2017 that may ignite further interest in their ongoing growth potential.
A screen of the top performing, non-leveraged or inverse exchange-traded funds through the first three months of the year reveals a pointed theme. Brazil, China, India, Argentina, and other emerging market indexes mounted the strongest returns of all asset classes. Of those nations, smaller company shares were the biggest standouts.
Emerging market bonds were one of the few bright spots across the fixed-income landscape in 2016. This category trailed only U.S. high yield debt by total return metrics despite some meaningful volatility in the aftermath of the U.S. election. Investors also took notice of this outperformance and the favorable yields to boot. Read more
Investors who have held onto their U.S.-focused dividend ETFs have been rewarded in both income and capital appreciation during the breadth of this bull market. The combination of relative momentum, low volatility, and steady accumulation of quarterly distributions have been the hallmarks of this steady trade.
Yet, those who study market history know that price performance that outstrips company fundamentals comes at a cost. Namely higher statistical valuation measures, alongside slowly decreasing yield for new investors. As a result, dividend stocks that looked attractive several years ago are now starting to rise into the expensive zone relative to other global opportunities.