In two words, the best way of describing the price action in major India exchange traded funds to start 2014 is “less bad.”
Less bad because while the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (NYSEArca: EPI) and the PowerShares India Portfolio (NYSEArca: PIN), as just two examples, are in the red to start 2014, they have been significantly less worse than the equivalent Brazil, China and Russia ETFs. The three largest ETFs tracking Brazil, China and Russia have an average year-to-date loss of 6.2%, more than five times worse than that of PIN. [Getting Selective With Emerging Markets ETFs]
After a lengthy run of under-performing the S&P 500, the $366.1 million PIN finds itself at a critical technical juncture. A look at the ETF’s chart shows a big move in either direction could soon be afoot.
“PIN has underperformed the S&P as the relative performance line has made lower highs and lower lows. However since September we’ve seen the ratio between these two markets flatten as their respective price action begins to shadow one another,” writes Andrew Thrasher for Trader Planet.
“Looking at the price action for $PIN, we can see resistance since October has been at the $17.75 level which has batted down price three times. While price has been unable to make a higher high, each dip has been shallower than the last as $PIN puts in higher lows. This creates an ascending triangle pattern, which has historically led to a continuation of the preceding trend,” added Thrasher.
While the technical outlook India ETFs may appear murky, that is the result of fragile fundamentals. India’s economy, Asia’s third-largest, slumped over the past year, expanding 5% in 2013, the slowest rate since 2003, compared to average growth of 8.5% from 2009 to 2011.
Inflation is still an issue. India’s consumer price index ended 2013 at 9.9% year-over-year, down from 11.2% in November. Due to the lower inflation level in December, the central bank could leave rates unchanged in the near-term. [Inflation Constrains India ETFs]
PIN features an almost 24.6% weight to the technology sector, a possible advantage as Indian tech stocks have shown some durability in the face of the declining rupee. However, a combined 34.7% weight to energy and materials names could be something for investors to keep an eye with PIN due to India’s status as an importer of the bulk of its energy needs.
PowerShares India Portfolio