The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ), already one of this year’s top-performing ETFs and one of the most proficient in terms of attracting assets, may have plenty of upside left for investors if various bearish analyst calls on the yen prove accurate.
As plenty of investors already know, a significant part of DXJ’s allure, and that of the db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBJP), is the hedged yen component. That is a fancy way of saying those ETFs benefit not only as Japanese stocks rise, but also as the yen falls against the dollar. [The Top-Selling ETFs of 2013]
USD/JPY traded close to 103.20 at its May peak, which also represented the 52-week highs for DXJ and DBJP. Volatility in the Japanese bond market and concerns the yen had fallen too far fast, among other factors, prompted swift corrections in DXJ, DBJP and other Japan ETFs, but the group has rebounded and DXJ is up nearly 9% in the past month. [Japan ETFs: What Next After Sell-Off?]
A 9% gain in a month is nice, but more upside could be on the way as currency analysts continue to be bearish on the yen. At this writing, USD/JPY is trading just over 99, but if analyst forecasts prove accurate, the yen has much further to fall, implying DXJ, DBJP and friends have a lot more upside in store.
For example, UBS has a year-end forecast of 110 for USD/JPY, according to WisdomTree.
Earlier this week, Ray Farris, global head of currency strategy at Credit Suisse said he sees the one dollar buying 120 yen within the next year. In the middle of those two forecasts is Commerzbank, which says the yen will fall to 115 against the dollar by the end of this year. “We’re going to see the yen trade at a very weak basis in the coming years,” said Peter Kinsella, a senior currency strategist at Commerzbank, in an interview with Bloomberg Radio.
The current median year-end estimate for USD/JPY by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is 105, or slightly more than 5% above current levels, but the average of the aforementioned UBS and Commerzbank forecasts is 112.50. Even if USD/JPY rallies 10% from current levels, that would be result in a price below the UBS and Commerzbank estimates, but above consensus. Still, that would be enough to ignite a substantial rally in Japan ETFs.
From Nov. 10, 2012 through July 11, 2013, USD/JPY is up nearly 25%, but in a sign of DXJ’s potency relative to the currency pair, the ETF is up almost 54% since Nov. 12, 2013.
WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this piece. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of DXJ.