Investors have not been thrilled with Japan exchange traded funds to this point in 2014. Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) and the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) have lost an average of 6.6% while DXJ has shed $1.1 billion in assets.
Safe-haven demand for the yen has pressured Japanese equities, prompting comments from the Bank of Japan that there is no good reason for the currency’s recent strength. [BoJ Says Yen Shouldn’t be This Strong]
There are some signs, including some of the technical variety, that indicate investors may not want to be hasty in throwing in the towel on Japan ETFs.
“Time for some good fortune in Japan? EWJ has been breaking out of some short-term resistance on increasing volume,” said Captain John Charts of the largest Japan ETF. EWJ is “doing so with bullish divergences in momentum indicators.”
Japan ETFs have recently been showing signs of life. Although the CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY) is up 0.3% since the start of May, DXJ and EWJ are up an average of 1.7% while the db X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBJP) is up 1.2%.
All of those performances are well ahead of the 0.3% delivered by the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA) since May 1.