In recent years, bullish momentum has been an undeniable force on Wall Street. Across the globe, however, this has not necessarily been the case. With funds flowing out of emerging market equities, and the euro debt crisis weighing heavily on several developed economies, certain corners of the world have not fared as well. Despite this, investors have still managed to capture lucrative returns from the foreign equities space [see 25 Wild ETF Charts From 1H 2013].
Below, we highlight a handful of ETFs across each region that have performed well over the past three years, as well as those that have struggled to keep up with the equity market’s quick pace (note that inverse and leveraged ETFs are excluded from this list – data as of 08/06/13):
Africa & Middle East: Gulf States Catch Fire; Egypt and Israel Stocks Struggle
From the Africa and Middle East equity markets, the funds targeting countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have performed well over the trailing three-year period, with MES and GULF both gaining nearly 40%. Equities from Egypt and Israel (EGPT and EIS), however, struggled to gain ground.
Broad & Developed Asia-Pacific: Financials, Real Estate, and Currency-Hedged ETFs Deliver; Australian Small Caps Slip
In the broad and developed Asia-Pacific space, the financials sector (FEFN, B+) came out on top, rising more than 37% over the last three years. Wisdom Tree’s Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ, A-) and the Asian real estate ETF (IFAS, B) also posted stellar returns. The small cap Australia fund (KROO), however, slipped nearly 12% [see 3-Year Review: Best & Worst ETFs In Each Sector].
Emerging Asia Pacific: Thailand and Malaysia Outperform; India and China Fall Behind
Out of emerging Asia, equities from Thailand (THD, A-) and Malaysia (EWM, B+) delivered stellar returns. Considering the significant economic slowdowns seen in China and India, however, it is not surprising to see funds like SCIN and CHIM come in at the bottom of the barrel.
Though several years ago Ireland’s (EIRL, B+) financial state seemed rather dire, equities from the country have since managed to post stellar returns. The Switzerland (EWL, A-) and Europe Small Cap Dividend Funds (DFE, A) also came out on top among European ETFs. Not surprisingly, however, the Italy (EWI), Russia (RSX), and Spain (EWP) funds struggled to stay out of the red [see Euro Free Europe Portfolio].
Latin America: Mexico ETF Delivers; Brazil Equities Tank
Across the board, Latin American equities have struggled to gain ground over the past three years. The Mexico ETF (EWW, A), however, managed to post an over 35% return, while the majority of Brazil-focused funds logged in double digit losses.
North America: Biotechs and Pharma Skyrocket; Volatility and Mining ETFs Tumble
Out of the over 650 North America-targeted ETFs, biotechnology funds have delivered stellar returns over the trailing three-year period; Van Eck’s Market Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH, C+) has gained an incredible 152%. Volatility and mining ETFs, however, took a steep tumble [see 6 ETFs Up After Earnings Season].
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.