Buoyed by speculation the country could receive a promotion to emerging markets territory, the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: KSA) is luring investors.
KSA, which tracks the MSCI Saudi Arabia IMI 25/50 Index, debuted in September 2015 and is the only US-listed exchange traded fund dedicated to stocks in Saudi Arabia. The country is the largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
“Inflows this year have quadrupled the amount of assets in an exchange-traded fund that invests in Saudi Arabian equities, data compiled by Bloomberg show. While the iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia ETF (ticker KSA) may still be relatively small with just under $58 million in assets, buyers have been pouring money into the fund that had about $14 million in assets at the start the year,” reports Bloomberg.
KSA holds 76 stocks, nearly 71% of which hail from the financial services and materials sectors. The ETF is up 4.3% year-to-date.
“Speculation about Saudi Arabia’s potential inclusion in the FTSE Russell and MSCI emerging-markets indexes, expectations of an initial public offering from Aramco and rising oil prices are all boosting flows into Saudi equities, according to Andrey Glukhov, a money manager at TCW Group,” according to Bloomberg.
Currently, index provider MSCI does not even classify Saudi Arabia as a frontier market, however it is a member of the MSCI GCC Countries Index, according to MSCI. The country has taken steps to liberalize its markets and make them more accessible to foreign investors in an effort to potentially draw the favor of index providers.
Emerging markets are enjoying improved fundamentals thanks to corporate earnings improving as economic growth rebounds and strengthening currencies against the U.S. dollar on the back of improved economic outlooks. Investors would do well to not simply focus on the weak dollar or supposedly compelling valuations on emerging markets stocks.
For more information on the developing economies, visit our emerging markets category.
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.