The recent resurgence of emerging markets ETFs, investors are once again looking at the BRIC quartet – Brazil, Russia, India and China. China is decidedly leading the way, which in turn, benefits Brazil because the latter depends on the former as a prime commodities export market. India, though still wracked with political and structural issues, is going along for the ride.
All of that is helping ETFs that offer combined exposure to all four countries. Those funds include the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: BKF) and the Guggenheim BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: EEB). Investors looking for a BRIC ETF that emphasizes Russia a bit more than is usually found in diversified emerging markets ETFs without the worries of a sizable position in Indian stocks should consider the SPDR S&P BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: BIK). [BRICs Lead Emerging Markets Rebound]
One of the most frequently arguments made in favor of emerging markets stocks through what has been a rough year for the asset class is that many of these markets have been trading at noticeable discounts. As of mid-August, the valuation on the S&P 500 was 70% above that of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which was trading at valuations that were four-year lows. [Emerging Markets Valuations at a Four-Year Low]
Two of the most steeply discounted developing markets are China and Russia. Those countries account for 74.7% of BIK’s weight. For its part, Russia usually trades at a discount to its emerging peers, but earlier this year, Russian stocks became noticeably cheap relative to their own historical standards. Brazil is BIK’s third-largest country weight at 18.9%.
With China and Russia occupying the bulk of BIK’s country weight, it is not surprising that financial services and energy stocks dominate at the sector level. Half of the ETF’s top-10 holdings are Chinese banks (three) or Russian energy giants (two).
Just a few months removed from the SHIBOR debacle, some investors may not be inclined to make large bets on Chinese banks. The silver lining is that China and Russia have emerged as two of the emerging world’s largest dividend payers and BIK sports a decent dividend yield of nearly 3.1%. [ETFs Languish as Analysts Miss Mark on Chinese Banks]
That shows are investors are compensated for taking the risk offered by this fund. And yes, BIK is cheap on valuation with a P/E ratio of just eight. BIK holds 46 stocks and has nearly $229 million in assets under management.
SPDR S&P BRIC ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEB.