Momentum-based strategies are becoming increasingly popular in the exchange traded funds industry. While practical in application to U.S. broad market and sector funds, investors plenty of momentum-driven developed market ETFs from which to choose.
One of the more established (and solid in terms of returns) options in the genre is the PowerShares DWA Developed Markets Momentum Portfolio (NYSEArca: PIZ). PIZ tracks the Dorsey Wright Developed Markets Technical Leaders Index, which adheres to the same momentum strategies rooted in relative strength evaluation as the Dorsey Wright Indices that underlying PowerShares ETFs such as the PowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio (NYSEArca: DWAS). [Momentum ETF Searches for More Upside]
PIZ can draw from a universe of countries including, but not limited to Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and Switzerland. On a related note, it is undeniably the ETF’s exposure to Europe that has been an important driver of returns (PIZ is up nearly 30% in the past year), but that positive trait is also one that arguably goes under-appreciated.
Under-appreciated because PIZ is a credible avenue for developed Europe exposure. The U.K. and Switzerland, the non-Eurozone cornerstones of so many diversified Europe ETFs, combine for almost 45% of the ETF’s weight, according to PowerShares data. Germany and France, the Eurozone’s two largest economies, combine for over 14%.
Sweden and Denmark combine for 8.3% and PIZ’s 4.1% weight to Denmark can be seen as icing on the cake at a time when Danish stocks are in rally mode. [Danish Dominance]
The advantages of PIZ are catching investors’ attention. PIZ has $727.3 million in assets under management, $407.1 million of which has come into the ETF over the past year, according to PowerShares data. Only six PowerShares ETFs have taken in more cash than PIZ over the past 12 months.
Upon further examination of PIZ, it is natural for investors to compare the ETF to rival funds that benchmark to the MSCI EAFE Index. Naturally, the next question should be how does PIZ stack up against the EAFE index. Quite well is the answer.
Over the past year, three years and five years, PIZ’s underlying index has soundly topped the EAFE index. PIZ has beaten cap-weighted ETFs benchmarked to the EAFE index in three of the past five years. [Some Smart Beta ETFs Top Their Benchmarks]
PowerShares DWA Developed Markets Momentum Portfolio