Going almost unnoticed amid the rally for exchange traded funds tracking China and other emerging Asian economies has been a sharp surge in Vietnamese stocks and the Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (NYSEArca: VNM).
Stocks in Vietnam, which is classified as a frontier market, currently reside at their highest levels since 2008, prompting analysts to raise their year-end price targets for the country’s benchmark VN Index. “The average year-end estimate for the VN Index has increased 12 percent since January to 675, or 5.3 percent above Wednesday’s closing level,” reports Nguyen Kieu Giang for Bloomberg.
VNM has surged as well, gaining over 10% since we highlighted the ETF’s then-nascent rally on Aug. 7. As we noted in May, VNM is typically weak in the second quarter. In fact, the lone Vietnam ETF still has not posted a gain in the five second quarters in which it has traded (VNM debuted in August 2009). [Quiet Rebound for the Vietnam ETFs]
However, the ETF has a tendency to perk up later in the year, a trend VNM is obeying once again in 2014. The bad news is investors are missing out on VNM in favor of larger, more familiar fare, including China ETFs. Since they start of August, nearly $5.5 million has been pulled from VNM while almost $506 million has flowed into the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI), the largest China ETF. [Big China ETF Races Higher]
That does not mean investors are skirting Vietnamese stocks. Actually, the opposite is true. “International investors poured $263 million into the nation’s stocks this year through Aug. 29, set for the ninth straight year of net buying,” according to Bloomberg.