There is not shortage of concern regarding the recent struggles for shares of Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL). As the world’s largest company by market value, the iPhone maker is the largest component in scores of widely followed equity indexes, including the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq-100, as well as a large group of exchange traded funds.
However, Apple’s woes are not giving way to upside for rivals, including Samsung. In fact Samsung, the South Korean industrial conglomerate that is arguably Apple’s most bitter rival in the smartphone and tablet markets, is seeing its stock do worse than Apple’s and that is dragging South Korea ETFs lower.
“Samsung has tumbled 16 percent this year as weakening demand for the company’s Galaxy smartphones spurred a fifth straight profit decline in the second quarter. The stock — Korea’s largest by market value — has lost $60 billion since this year’s peak and dropped a further 3.8 percent on Thursday,” reports Kyoungwha Kim for Bloomberg.
This is how Samsung is affecting the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWY), the largest U.S.-listed South Korea: The stock is down 16% this year, but EWY has plunged the same amount in just the past 90 days. That loss is nearly 200 basis points worse than the MSCI Emerging Markets Index over the same period.
While the Apple allocations in cap-weighted technology ETFs are often derided as excessive, the same can be said of South Korea ETFs’ devotion to Samsung. For example, EWY features a 19.5% weight to the stock, more than five times what the fund allocates to its second-largest holding. [Samsung Weighs on South Korea ETFs]
Higher dividend payouts and stock split are encouraging some investors. Korean companies are facing increased pressure from the government to raise dividends, which are among the lowest of any large economy in Asia. However, with Samsung shares tumbling, shareholder rewards probably are not enough to stoke significant interest in South Korean stocks in the near-term.