More investors are taking a second look at international markets, but many are painting the international asset category in broad strokes. However, through country-specific exchange traded funds, anyone can take up targeted exposure to focus on strong performers and ignore less desirable markets.
The global equity market landscape varies widely, covering many different markets and economic conditions, since no two country economies are the same.
“Country equity fundamentals vary widely across Developed and Emerging markets. As such, access to country level exposures allows investors to surgically target desired fundamental attributes such as dividend yield or valuation,” Alec Young, managing director of global markets research for FTSE Russell, said in a note.
FTSE Global Equity Index Series
To illustrate the point, FTSE Russell recently analyzed several fundamental measures of Developed and Emerging market countries in its FTSE Global Equity Index Series.
According to FTSE Russell data, indices that cover Russia, Australia and the United Kingdom offer some of the most attractive dividend yields with payouts above 4%, so income-seekers may be more keen on looking at these areas. ETF investors can target these markets through country-specific plays like the Franklin FTSE Russia ETF (NYSEArca: FLRU), Franklin FTSE Australia ETF (NYSEArca: FLAU) and Franklin FTSE United Kingdom ETF (NYSEArca: FLGB).
Given the heightened valuations in the U.S. after a multi-year bull run – the S&P 500 trades at a 18.5 price-to-earnings and a 2.4 price-to-book, investors are also eyeing international markets that appear to have more attractive valuations. For example, the FTSE Russia RIC Capped Index shows a low 0.7 price-to-book and a 7.0 price-to-earnings.
Other relatively cheap foreign markets include the FTSE South Korea RIC Capped Index with 1.1 P/B and 10.4 P/E; the FTSE Italy RIC Capped Index with a 1.1 P/B and a 10.4% P/E; and FTSE Japan RIC Capped Index 1.4 P/B and 14.3 P/E. To track these markets, ETF investors may consider the Franklin FTSE South Korea ETF (NYSEArca: FLKR), Franklin FTSE Italy ETF (NYSEArca: FLIY) and Franklin FTSE Japan ETF (NYSEArca: FLJP).
Moreover, this relatively new suite of country-specific ETFs out of Franklin Templeton have a dirt cheap cost, with each ETF only costing investors a 0.09% expense ratio.
“The goal of our collaboration with FTSE Russell is to provide investors with the ability to gain access to a diversified set of efficient non-US market exposures through our Franklin LibertyShares index-based ETFs,” Patrick O’Connor, head of global ETFs for Franklin Templeton Investments, said in a note.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.