Waiting on MSCI, A-Shares ETFs Rally

Index provider MSCI (NYSE: MSCI) is slated to make its long-awaited decision on the market classification of China A-shares, the stocks trading on mainland bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen, Tuesday June 9 at 5pm Eastern Time. Traders are not waiting around to make bullish bets on U.S.-listed A-shares exchange traded funds.

To this point in Monday’s trading session, 16 ETFs have hit all-time highs or 52-week highs. That group is comprised of three A-shares ETFs: The CSOP FTSE China A50 ETF (NYSEArca: AFTY), KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A ETF (NYSEArca: KBA) and the KraneShares Bosera MSCI China A ETF (NYSEArca: KBA). The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (NYSEArca: ASHR), the largest U.S-listed A-shares ETF, is no slouch either. That ETF is up 3.5% and trading mere pennies below its all-time high. [Index Changes Could Boost China ETFs]

To say anticipation of A-shares being promoted to the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is running high is an understatement. Global investors benchmark $1.7 trillion to that index, which is tracked by the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM). EEM is the second-largest emerging markets ETF by assets. At the end of the first quarter, there was $9.5 trillion benchmarked to MSCI indexes, meaning the buying of A-shares that would ensue should MSCI proceed with promoting the group would elicit a significant rally for the aforementioned ETFs and their rivals.

That much was confirmed in late May when MSCI rival FTSE Russell said it is promoting A-shares to its global benchmarks. FTSE Russell’s announcement got investors excited about the addition of A-shares to the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO), the largest emerging markets ETF by assets, but on the day that announcement was made, AFTY, ASHR, KBA and PEK were among the day’s top ETF percentage gainers. [FTSE Moves Boosts A-Shares ETFs]

Still, there is a chance MSCI will delay its A-shares decision until the fall. The index provider confirmed as much to Reuters earlier this month. However, some investors remain mesmerized about the prospect of A-shares entering MSCI indexes. Although MSCI, like FTSE Russell, has promised a gradual addition of A-shares to its indexes should it decided to add the mainland stocks at all, the reality is that China could eventually account for an outsized percentage of benchmarks like the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.