Latin America has been a hazardous place for investors for a couple of years now. Up 3.75 year-to-date, the Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (NYSEArca: ARGT) has been an exception to the Latin American investing rule, but the lone Argentina ETF is still down more than 13% over the past six months.
Argentina’s presidential election has recently bolstered shares of ARGT. The presidential race is based off a two-round, or runoff, voting system. If no candidate receives the required votes, or majority, in the first round then the two candidates with the most votes go through a second round. With almost 97% of the votes counted Monday, Macri had 34.3% of the votes, whereas major front runner Daniel Scioli of the populist ruling party had 36.8% of the vote – candidates had to have 40% of the vote and be 10 points ahead of the competition to win.
“A majority of Argentines were ready for a substantial change at the top — not just in personality, but ideology,” Daniel Freifeld, a partner at Callaway Capital Management, which holds Argentine bonds, told Bloomberg. “A Scioli victory would not have been bad, but a Macri victory means this has become an economic normalization trade, not just an ‘anybody but Cristina’ trade.”
Argentina’s government has kept a heavy hand on the economy, controlling the markets with an interventionist mindset, especially as the country deals with its ongoing debt problems. However, Macri has stated that the country needs to remove the capital controls and and reach a settlement with creditors to gain greater access into international bond markets since its default 14 years ago. [Crying for the Argentina ETF]
At least one U.S. hedge fund manager is bullish on Argentina’s debt, which is perhaps more important than a bullish view on the country’s equities given that Argentina is once again in default.