With the Bank of Japan committed to even more aggressive monetary policies, Japanese equity exchange traded funds that hedge their exposure to a depreciating yen have been on a tear.
The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) and db-X MSCI Japan Currency-Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBJP) both hedge currency exposure to the yen – the depreciating yen does not hinder the performance of the yen-denominated holdings, but DBJP has been slightly outperforming DXJ. [Currency Hedged Japan ETF Rallies 40% on Plunging Yen]
Specifically, DBJP is up 10.5% over the past month, 22.2% over the last three months and 25.2% year-to-date, compared to DXJ’s gains of 6.6% over the last month, 17.2% over the last three months and 20.7% year-to-date. In comparison, the non-currency hedged Japanese equity ETF, iShares MSCI Japan Index (NYSEArca: EWJ), rose 5.5% over the past month, 11.2% in the last three months and 12.4% year-to-date.
Both yen-hedged funds offer exposure to Japanese equities with similar investment strategies, but by taking a closer look, investors can see how the two ETFs differ.
“On a fundamental level, a falling yen benefits the export-oriented automobile manufacturers, capital goods manufacturers, and consumer electronics firms–companies that are well-represented in this fund,” writes Morningstar analyst Patricia Oey in an overview of DXJ. “DXJ’s index excludes companies that derive 80% or more of their revenue from Japan, which tilts the index towards companies with a more significant global revenue base.”
For instance, DXJ’s top holdings include large exporter names, such as Takeda Pharmaceutical 5.3%, Canon 4.3%, Honda Motor 4.0%, Japan Tobacco 3.2%, Toyota Motor 3.0%, Nissan Motor 3.0%, Astellas Pharma 2.7% and Itochu Corp 2.2%.
Sector allocations include industrials 22.7%, consumer discretionary 19.2%, information tech 15.3%, health care 14.0%, materials 11.2%, consumer staples 9.9% and financials 7.7%.