Japanese equities and country-specific exchange traded funds have pulled ahead of U.S. markets and may continue to hold on to their lead.

The non-hedged iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) rose 16.4% year-to-date.

The CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY), which tracks yen movements against the dollar, declined 3.6% year-to-date.

Meanwhile, the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ), which hedges against a depreciating yen currency, gained 21.3% so far this year. Additionally, the yen-hedged iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: HEWJ) increased 20.0% and Deutsche X-trackers MSCI Japan Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBJP) advanced 19.9%. [ETFs to Capture a Stronger Japanese Economy]

The Japanese Nikkei Index has been outperforming U.S. markets this year, and Oppenheimer technical analyst Ari Wald argued that Japan’s markets could continue outpacing U.S. equities for the rest of the year, reports Alex Rosenberg for CNBC.

“We are bullish on the U.S., but one of the markets we’re even more bullish on than the U.S. is the Japanese Nikkei,” Wald said on CNBC.

Wald pointed out that Japanese stocks have underperformed U.S. equities by 90% for the past 25 years. Consequently, Wald said that the Nikkei “has plenty of long-term catch-up potential.”