Emerging markets ETFs had been perking up for several weeks, but the group got the lift it really needed Wednesday when the Federal Reserve eschewed tapering. The U.S. central bank said its $85 billion in monthly bond purchases will remain in place and those comments could be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to confirming a significant rally for emerging markets ETFs.
There were multiple examples of the intensity with which emerging markets ETFs rallied on Wednesday. The Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) jumped 4% while the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) soared 5.1% and those are just two examples. With a Wednesday gain of 4.6%, the PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio (NYSEArca: PIE) belongs on the list of emerging markets “no tapering” beneficiaries. [Some Enhanced ETFs Beating Their Benchmarks]
PIE does not follow the same cap-weighted methodology used by VWO and other larger, diversified emerging markets ETFs. Rather, PIE tracks the Dorsey Wright Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Index, which ranks its components based on relative strength traits. PIE and its index rebalance quarterly. That methodology previously helped PIE thwart larger rivals like VWO. Earlier this year when the BRIC nations were lagging, PIE was beating its rivals because it had scant BRIC exposure. [Outperforming EM ETF Hits a Rough Patch]
However, PIE was left vulnerable to the tapering-induced emerging markets swoon that started in earnest in May. Although PIE was not highly exposed to BRIC, the fund did have large allocations to some developing markets that waned in the face of tapering talk and higher U.S. interest rates. Think Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand as a few examples.
With tapering off the table, PIE could be in a position to thrive again. The ETF can hold stocks from the following countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.
As of Tuesday, PIE’s top-five country weights were South Korea, Indonesia, Mexico, China and South Africa, a group that represents about 44% of the fund’s weight. While Indonesia may need more than the loss of tapering chatter to eradicate its current account deficit and bolster the faltering rupiah, some of PIE’s other country weights are ideally situated to take advantage of a no tapering environment.