Investors searching for a conservative, low beta single-country emerging markets exchange traded fund have a friend in the iShares MSCI Taiwan ETF (NYSEArca: EWT).
The $2.9 billion EWT has recently rewarded investors, surging 11.4% since the early February bottom in emerging markets ETFs. Over that time, EWT has outperformed the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) by better than two-to-one. [Investors Skipping China ETFs]
Global investors are embracing Taiwanese shares. About $2.4 billion foreign portfolio capital flowed into Taiwan this month, versus India’s $1.2 billion, Shuli Ren reports for Barron’s, citing Credit Suisse. The good news is the Taiwan trade may not be crowded.
“Taiwan has been associated with upgrades to 2014E consensus EPS in three of the past four months. And so far in April, the upgrade to 2014E consensus EPS for Taiwan is 0.7%,” according to Credit Suisse data cited by Barron’s.
Although EWT has recently been a solid performer, gaining 6.4% over the past month, the ETF still has not managed a close above $15 in nearly three years. EWT would need to jump nearly 8% to reach $16 for the first time since late January 2011. A rally of more than 20% would be necessary to get EWT back to its pre-financial crisis highs and the fund would need to tack on another 27% to reclaim its all-time highs last seen in mid-2000.
EWT is dominated by Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE: TSM) as the component supplier to Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL), among others, accounts for 21.5% of the ETF’s weight. While many emerging markets ETFs feature arguable excessive weights to energy or financial services names, often of the state-controlled variety, EWT allocates 56.3% of its weight to the technology sector. [Tech Sector Lifts Taiwan ETF]