The fifth month of the year has arrived and with that has come the requisite “Sell in May and go away” chatter.
Sell in May talk is usually bandied about by U.S. investors in reference to U.S. equities, but there is an ex-U.S. market, one easily accessed via exchange traded funds, that also merits Sell in May and go away consideration: Australia.
“May has arguably been the worst month over the last decade to hold long positions in the Australian stock market (AS51 Index); ASX 200 avg. down move during May – 2% & ~50 bps worse than any other month. In 2014, the AS51 actually closed up 0.1%,” according to Rareview Macro Founder Neil Azous.
The iShares MSCI Australia ETF (NYSEArca: EWA), the largest U.S.-listed Australia ETF, seems to be obeying the aforementioned negative seasonality for Australian stocks. The $1.68 billion EWA is off almost 1.7% over the past month, which does not sound all that bad until acknowledging the ETF has tumbled 6% since April 28. EWA has closed lower in three of four trading days this month. [Australia ETFs for the Patient Investor]
Making the bull case for EWA and Australian equities even murkier is valuation.Australian stocks are expensive, at least according to Goldman Sachs. “Finding value in the Aussie equity market has never been harder; at an average of 19x forward P/E, Industrial stocks have never been this expensive: Growth had already re-rated, but now even ‘cheap’ stocks trade at unprecedented multiples; Seeking defensives with some valuation support, we upgrade Staples to Overweight from Neutral,” said the bank in a note out last month. [Say G’Day to Australia ETFs]