What little momentum the iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (NYSEArca: EWM) has recently had, and it has been a scant amount to be sure, is seen waning as frothy valuations and other issues take their toll on the country’s stocks.
Malaysia’s benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index is up just 0.7% year-to-date and is heading for its worst first-half performance since 2008, Choong En Han and Weiyi Lim report for Bloomberg.
The $785.8 million EWM is up just 3.6% year-to-date, not even half the 2014 gain offered by the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM). Malaysia is the eighth-largest country weight in EEM, according to iShares data.
“Record household debt, equity valuations that exceed the average level of the past five market peaks and slower earnings growth” are among the factors weighing on Malaysian equities, according to Bloomberg.
Malaysia’s bull market, one of the longest in the world, has helped EWM more than double since early 2009. Although EWM is not as large as some other notable single-country ETFs tracking Asian economies, the fund has developed a following because it is one of the lower beta emerging markets ETFs. EWM has a beta of 0.82 compared to 1.05 for EEM. [Malaysia ETF Looks for Support]
Global investors have recently been net buyers of Malaysian stocks, but on a year-to-date basis, they have been net sellers. MIDF Research said foreign investors have been net buyers of Malaysian stocks for 10 consecutive weeks.