We have seen large bullish looking options flows involving call buyers in iShares MSCI Japan (NYSEArca: EWJ) which is the largest in terms of assets under management (north of $4.1 billion currently) amid very heavy trading volume in the ETF last Thursday, with more than 80 million shares traded versus average daily volume of about 17 million.

EWJ is also one of the “pioneers” of ETFs in terms of its tenure on the market, having launched in 1996.

The fund has a decidedly large cap/mega cap slant, with more than 88% of the index weighted towards these segments of the Japanese equity market. Top holdings are currently Toyota Motor (5.14%), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (2.82%), Honda Motor (2.36%), Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (2.02%), and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (1.79%).

The country based ETF has struggled year to date, up 2.31%, and currently is flirting with its 200 day moving average after its recent impressive run up from its $8.75 low in mid-November. [The Perfect ETF for Higher Japanese Stocks and a Weaker Yen]

Other Japan based equity funds that will likely see heightened activity in this environment since EWJ is clearly in play include DXJ (WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity), NKY (MAXIS Nikkei 225), DFJ (WisdomTree Japan Small Cap Dividend), ITF (iShares S&P/TOPIX 150), JSC (SPDR Russell/Nomura Small Cap Japan), SCJ (iShares MSCI Japan Small Cap), JPP (SPDR Russel/Nomura PRIME Japan), and FJP (First Trust Japan AlphaDEX).

iShares MSCI Japan

For more information on Street One ETF research and ETF trade execution/liquidity services, contact Paul Weisbruch at pweisbruch@streetonefinancial.com.