The WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (NYSEArca: DEM) is a diversified emerging markets ETF. That means it competes with the likes of the large and popular Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSE: EEM).
Competing with those ETFs does not make DEM a carbon copy of its rivals. In fact, the $5 billion DEM has some traits that make it easy distinguished from its counterpart. One of those traits should be prized by investors in the current environment for emerging markets equities: Solid exposure to countries that do not have current account deficits.
“So much of what has happened this year with emerging markets is macro-driven,” said WisdomTree Research Director Jeremy Schwartz in an interview with ETF Trends at the Morningstar ETF Invest Conference in Chicago. “Current account deficits have been the top macro issue for countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.”
India is not part of DEM’s country lineup and the other three combine for less than 20% of the ETF’s weight. DEM is, however, allocated to Russia in a big way. At almost 20%, DEM’s Russia allocation is noticeably larger than what comparable ETFs devote to the “R” in BRIC. [Emerging Markets Dividend ETFs for Lower Risk]
Russia is one of the cheapest emerging markets and does not have a current account deficit, Schwartz noted.
“Russian commodities producers don’t deserve to trade at high multiples and the fact the country usually trades at discounts to other emerging markets is an offshoot of the commodities presence there,” said Schwartz. [ETFs for an Emerging Markets Turnaround]
China is DEM’s second-largest country weight at 17%. At the end of the second quarter, China was the largest dividend payer in dollar terms in the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Index, DEM’s underlying index, while Russia was the fastest growing.