Investigating an International ETF After a Rough June

After surging last year, ex-US developed markets exchange traded funds are struggling this year. For example, the widely followed MSCI EAFE Index is lower by more than 4% year-to-date.

The iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEARCA: EFA), which tracks the MSCI EAFE Index and is the largest international equity ETF in the U.S., is coming off a rough June that saw the ETF make some ominous technical moves. According to iShares, EFA “seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of large- and mid-capitalization developed market equities, excluding the U.S. and Canada.”

“EFA peaked early this year, notching its high close of $75.25 back on Jan. 26 (just prior to the volatility “melt-up” that roiled markets). Following a rapid-fire series of bear gaps, the $72 level emerged as resistance in early February, and went on to cap EFA’s rally attempts later that month and throughout May,” reports Schaeffer’s Investment Research.

June Gloom for EFA

EFA looks to wider geographic areas to add alpha over a traditional international benchmark, while still providing attractive diversification qualities across numerous countries, sectors, and market cap styles. Amid increasing international trade tensions, international ETFs, including EFA, tumbled in June.

“It was a fresh round of trade-war threats on June 19 that really hammered EFA lower. The fund gapped below its 320-day moving average at the open, and ultimately lost 2.8% that day. By last Monday, EFA was exploring fresh year-to-date lows — and by Thursday, the exchange-traded fund’s 50-day moving average crossed below its 200-day counterpart, forming the ominous-sounding “death cross” pattern that’s widely viewed as confirmation that a downtrend is in place,” according to Schaeffer’s.