Russia’s benchmark Micex Index bottomed on March 14th and since then, stocks there have been in rally mode.
Since that day, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), the iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS) and the SPDR S&P Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RBL) have all gained more than 20%, entering bull markets as global investors have returned to Russian stocks amid signs of ebbing tensions with neighboring Ukraine. [Russia ETFs
Russia’s rebound has benefited more than just the aforementioned ETFs. Predictably, diversified emerging markets ETFs have also gotten a lift, but upside for Russian equities is even more impactful for the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (NYSEArca: DEM).
DEM is a prime beneficiary of resurgent Russian equities because the ETF allocates 19.3% of its weight to Russia, well above the weights to that country found in rival diversified emerging markets ETFs. For example, the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) each allocate just over 5% of their respective weights to Russia.
EEM and VWO only feature one Russian stock among their top-10 holdings while DEM has four Russian names in its top-10 lineup. That positioned DEM to benefit when the Micex surged almost 10% in May in what was the index’s biggest monthly gain in nearly three years. [Putin Pause Lifts Russia ETFs]
Although DEM has been previously criticized for its overweight to Russia with critics asserting the ETF is more volatile as a result, those complaints miss the mark. For example, the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity income Index (WTEMHY), DEM’s underlying index, has a beta of just 0.81 against the MSCI Emerging Markets Index since June 2007, according to WisdomTree data.