There are nearly 1,600 exchange traded products listed in the U.S., but just 18 made new 52-weeks on high Wednesday, a day when U.S. stocks surged.
One of those funds was the iShares MSCI Sweden ETF (NYSEArca: EWD). EWD has the honor of being the only non-India single-country ETF to make a new 52-week high Wednesday. More importantly, the $572.5 million EWD is up nearly 4% over the past month. [Sweet on the Sweden ETF]
EWD’s one-month performance is more double than that of the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) and better than triple the returns offered by the iShares MSCI Germany ETF (NYSEArca: EWG) over the same period.
Often viewed as sturdy compared to some Eurozone economies, particularly the peripheral nations, Sweden’s economy and monetary policy are not without controversy. Nor is EWD without some element of volatility.
Sweden’s central bank, the Riksbank, actually raised interest rates during the global financial crisis, a move that recently earned it a written lashing from Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman. Krugrman said the Riksbank’s moves risk Japan-style deflation.
Swaps data indicate traders are widely expecting the Swedish central bank to cut rates in July to 0.5% with perhaps more cuts to follow. That could further weaken the krona, already one of the worst-performing developed market currencies this year.
Sweden’s currency is down 4% against the euro since February, but that has been a good thing for EWD. Although the ETF allocates nearly a third of its weight to the financial services sector, another third goes to Sweden’s export-laden industrial and consumer discretionary sectors.