Stocks have launched an impressive recovery in the past few weeks and some exchange traded funds (ETFs) have led the pack. There isn’t a lack for choice, as over 400 ETFs are available representing all asset classes, industry sectors and many global regions. The key is to hone in on those markets that have shown the most strength as this global market recovery takes shape. Here are five ETFs to keep on your radar screen:
iShares MSCI Netherlands (EWN)
The Netherlands has a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade. The country has stable relations, moderate unemployment and is an important European transportation hub. The country continues to be one of the leading European nations for attracting foreign direct investment.
This ETF holds 27 of the top Dutch companies, with financial companies ING and ABN AMRO weighing in at 18% and 14% respectively. ING has a large presence in Asia, as well as markets around the world. ABN AMRO is currently in merger talks with Barclays, with the combined entity headquartered in Amsterdam. Philips Electronics and Unilever round out the top holdings.
EWN is up 8.5% year-to-date and was up 31.5% last year.
iShares MSCI South Africa Index (EZA)
Growth prospects in South Africa are solid, as South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel presented a $75 billion budget for 2007. GDP rose at a rate of 4.9% last year and is expected to continue at 5% over the next 3 years. The country exports gold, diamonds, minerals, and metals. Top holdings are mining stocks, which include Sasol Ltd. at 9.34%; Standard Bank Investment with 8.35%; and Vail Resorts Inc. holds 7.98%.
The country has recorded its first ever economic surplus, and with gold on the rebound this ETF looks promising. EZA is up 5.4% for the year and was up 17.1% in 2006.
iShares S&P Latin America 40 Index (ILF)
Despite the expansion of Chavez’s powers throughout Venezuela and Ecuador, investor confidence need not be swayed away from Latin America. Brazil and Mexico represent the largest economies backed by pro-market politicians. The major economies are swinging to the left and as long as they continue to follow the free-market model, economies will continue to flourish.