It is hard to imagine an almost $5 billion exchange traded fund that offers exposure to stocks in the world’s second-largest economy getting lost in the shuffle, but that may just be what has happened this year with the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI).
FXI, the largest and most heavily traded China ETF, is up 6.6% year-to-date. On its own, that sounds alright. However, that performance is middling compared to other major single-country BRIC ETFs, namely the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (NYSEArca: EPI) and the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ). Those ETFs are up 36% and 18.3%, respectively this year. [Brazil, India Boost BRIC ETFs]
If not for the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), FXI would be the worst of the four largest BRIC country-specific ETFs. In other words, it is easy to understand why the recent rally in China ETFs is going ignored. Since the start of July, FXI, the iShares MSCI China ETF (NYSEArca: MCHI) and the SPDR S&P China ETF (NYSEArca: GXC) are up an average of more than 5% as investors have been lured back to Chinese equities amid tempting valuations. All three ETFs sport P/E ratios that just over half that of the S&P 500. [Nice Value With China ETFs]
Ignorance is, however, not bliss in the case of China ETFs. At least not when FXI and its rivals are showing bullish technical.
“The Shanghai index and FXI are both making another attempt to break from multi-year falling resistance. At the same time the Shanghai index is setting on a support line that dates back almost 20 years, creating a multi-year pennant pattern that will come to an end pretty soon,” noes Chris Kimble of Kimble Charting Solutions.
With positive finishes Wednesday, FXI and GXC are only modestly below their 52-week highs. A move above $80 could catapult GXC to the mid-$80s, an area the ETF has not seen since the second quarter of 2011.
Investors are still displaying some apprehension toward China ETFs. Through July 22, none of the ETFs mentioned here had added new money. FXI is lighter by $11.5 million this month, bring its year-to-date outflows to $1.1 billion.
Chart Courtesy: Kimble Charting Solutions