The U.S. economy rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 despite a downtrodden fourth quarter to end 2018, beating analysts’ expectations of 2.5 percent growth with 3.2 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth to start 2019.
In addition, first-quarter earnings have been strong thus far as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite reached new closing highs this week. The GDP figure represents the strongest rate of growth for the first quarter in four years and matches the 3.2 percent growth experienced a year ago.
Exports helped to drive growth in the first quarter as a decline in imports and higher inventory investment offset weaker consumer spending and business investment, according to the Commerce Department on Friday.
“The upside beat was helped by net trade (exports jumped while imports contracted sharply) and inventories which combined contributed almost 170 bps of the rise,” wrote Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “Personal spending though, the biggest component was up just 1.2%, two tenths more than expected as an increase in spending on services and nondurable goods offset a decline in spending on durable goods.”
The higher GDP comes global economic growth remains a primary concern. Earlier this month, the IMF cut its global growth forecast to the lowest level since the financial crisis, citing the impact of tariffs and a weak outlook for most developed markets.
According to the IMF, the world economy will grow at a 3.3 percent pace, which is 0.2 percent lower versus the initial forecast back in January.
Investors who view international equities as value plays, can look to the biggest ETFs in the space for possible opportunities:
|Symbol||ETF Name||Total Assets ($MM)|
|VEA||Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF||$71,814.73|
|IEFA||iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF||$63,419.23|
|EFA||iShares MSCI EAFE ETF||$62,955.15|
|SCHF||Schwab International Equity ETF||$17,601.24|
|EFAV||iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol EAFE ETF||$11,104.89|
|SCZ||iShares MSCI EAFE Small-Cap ETF||$9,643.53|
|EFV||iShares MSCI EAFE Value ETF||$6,021.27|
|VSS||Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small-Cap ETF||$5,440.97|
|DBEF||Xtrackers MSCI EAFE Currency-Hedged Equity Fund||$5,009.13|
|SPDW||SPDR Portfolio World ex-US ETF||$4,797.36|
Chart via ETFdb.com, as of April 26, 2019.
More Growth Ahead for the U.S.?
Will this the U.S. economy experience further growth in 2019 to a point where international equities will be left behind?
For investors looking for continued upside in U.S. equities over international equities, the Direxion FTSE Russell US Over International ETF (NYSEArca: RWUI) offers them the ability to benefit not only from domestic U.S. markets potentially performing well, but from their outperformance compared to international markets.
Conversely, if investors believe that international markets will outperform U.S. domestic markets, the Direxion FTSE International Over US ETF (NYSEArca: RWIU) provides a means to not only see international markets perform well, but a way to capitalize on their outperformance compared to the U.S. markets.
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