Monday is turning out to be another day at the office for Brazil exchange traded funds as price action in these ETFs is being dictated by the latest polling data out of Latin America’s largest economy.
Shares of the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) are lower by nearly 3% today after MDA’s first poll since Brazil’s Oct. 5 first-round election shows President Dilma Rousseff with 45.5% of voter support compared to 44.5% for challenger Aecio Neves. “Excluding undecided voters, spoiled and blank survey responses, Rousseff has 50.5 percent against 49.5 percent for Rousseff,” according to Reuters.
Rousseff and Neves are heading toward an Oct. 26 runoff after Neves surprised observers by finishing second in the Oct. 5 first round election. No candidate received at least 50% of the vote in first-round balloting, meaning the runoff became mandatory under Brazilian law. Rousseff garnered 41.6% in the first round compared to 33.6% for Neves.
Immediately after the first round ballot, EWZ, other Brazil and Latin America ETFs and Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Brazil’s state-run oil company and EWZ’s largest holding, surged on optimism that the pro-markets Neves could defeat the leftist Rousseff. [A Neves Rally for Brazil ETFs]
From Oct. 6 through Oct. 9, EWZ rose 1.7% while Petrobras surged 6.1%. However, the ETF and the stock have been losing momentum as support for Rousseff firms. From Oct. 10 through today, shares of Petrobras are lower by 7.6% while EWZ has shed 2.3%.
Some market participants view the election of Neves as essential to further upside for EWZ and Brazilian equities because Neves has pledged to make Arminio Fraga Brazil’s next finance minister. Aside from holding a degree of Princeton, Fraga is an alumni of George Soros’ famous Quantum Fund and a former hedge fund manager in his own right. Four years ago, Fraga’s Gavea Investments was acquired by J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM).
Fraga is seen as much needed relief to wary investors that are dealing with contracting Brazilian GDP and some of the highest inflation and interest rates in the developing world. [Assessing Election Risk-Reward With Brazil ETFs]