It might be hard to believe upon learning the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) entered Monday with a year-to-date gain of almost 10.6%, but the largest Brazil largest Brazil ETF looks to be limping towards a new bear market as Brazil’s Oct. 5 national elections near.
With Monday’s 3.4% slide, EWZ has tumbled nearly 15% since hitting a 52-week high at $54 on Sept. 3. That means the largest Brazil need fall only another 5% to meet the 20% fall needed to enter a new bear market.
For the bulk of this year, EWZ has been the second-best of the four major single-country BRIC ETFs, trailing only the high-flying WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (NYSEArca: EPI). However, EWZ’s weakness has intensified so much in recent weeks that over the past 90 days, only the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) has been worse than EWZ of the major country-specific BRIC ETFs over that period. [Bad Week for Russia ETFs]
Brazilian stocks have recently lost momentum as the latest polls show presidential candidate Marina Silva leads President Dilma Rousseff by just 2% in a hypothetical runoff election. Under Brazilian law, a runoff can only be averted if one of the three candidates running captures more than 50% of the vote on Oct. 5. The runoff, if needed, would take place on Oct. 26, potentially subjecting EWZ and other Brazil ETFs to several added weeks of increased volatility and uncertainty. [What Elections Mean for Brazil ETFs]
EWZ’s recent declines, while painful for any investor that is long the ETF, are particularly punishing for those that came late to the party. As EWZ surged late in the first quarter and for much of August, investors were reluctant to establish new positions in the fund.