Country ETFs: South Korea Leads The Way Up

A retirement portfolio that includes both foreign and domestic investments can provide for more diversification, with more opportunities for growth. This article will focus on country specific ETFs, and how they have been performing.

International equity ETFs are available in several types. These include specific developed countries, specific emerging countries, specific frontier countries, as well as ETFs that hold equities from multiple countries and in several sectors and industries. The ETF provider iShares®, for several years, has been one of the leaders in Country ETFs, however there are several other ETF providers that have been offering an interesting line up of investments. Another interesting provider is Van Eck, with their Russia (NYSE:RSX) ETF.

We follow twenty three Country ETFs, and their performance over the past year is in the following table: (You can view this table here also- Global Stocks Trend). I have added the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE:SPY) for comparison (in bold italics), – interesting that it ranks right about in the middle in terms of performance over the past year.

as of 4/21

Description Symbol 1week 4Weeks 13weeks 26weeks 52weeks Trend Score
South Korea (EWY) 4.32% 11.39% 9.73% 27.01% 30.66% 16.62%
Australia (EWA) 2.49% 9.28% 13.71% 18.81% 17.94% 12.44%
Germany (EWG) 2.09% 7.41% 11.25% 15.23% 25.01% 12.20%
South Africa (EZA) 3.00% 5.96% 8.83% 10.94% 27.01% 11.15%
Canada (EWC) 1.96% 1.59% 9.69% 19.41% 19.37% 10.41%
Taiwan (EWT) 2.63% 5.91% -0.26% 18.77% 24.05% 10.22%
Switzerland (EWL) 3.03% 5.88% 10.63% 12.30% 18.23% 10.01%
Russia (RSX) 1.97% -0.41% 5.02% 21.74% 19.46% 9.56%
Belgium (EWK) 1.84% 6.11% 13.18% 7.02% 16.37% 8.90%
Singapore (EWS) 2.20% 7.31% 4.89% 7.33% 21.41% 8.63%
Austria (EWO) 1.28% 2.01% 8.58% 12.54% 17.17% 8.32%
SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) 1.93% 2.18% 5.08% 15.71% 15.90% 8.16%
United Kingdom (EWU) 2.02% 4.46% 7.40% 12.02% 14.39% 8.06%
Malaysia (EWM) 1.02% 2.13% 0.75% 8.59% 25.98% 7.69%
Mexico (EWW) 0.97% 3.73% 2.64% 13.44% 17.30% 7.62%
France (EWQ) 1.35% 3.55% 8.93% 9.52% 13.21% 7.31%
Hong Kong (EWH) 0.26% 5.45% -1.06% 3.96% 23.57% 6.43%
The Netherlands (EWN) -0.43% 1.71% 9.07% 10.16% 10.95% 6.29%
Brazil (EWZ) 2.75% 4.52% 3.63% 5.80% 10.39% 5.42%
China (FXI) 1.80% 6.28% 6.33% 0.90% 11.63% 5.39%
Italy (EWI) 0.05% 1.39% 7.03% 6.66% 6.36% 4.30%
Spain (EWP) -0.25% 0.81% 6.80% 3.96% 7.21% 3.71%
India (INP) -0.45% 5.98% 4.87% -9.33% 7.54% 1.72%
Japan (EWJ) 1.79% -3.49% -7.59% 2.18% -0.96% -1.61%

The trend score is defined as the average of 1, 4, 13, 26 and 52 week total returns (including dividend reinvested).

South Korea (NYSE:EWY) at the top of the list, has been trending about double the (SPY).You can see from the list that some of top performing countries are resource rich. Australia, South Africa, Canada and Russia, are major producers of minerals and mining, and energy.

Another benefit of these Country ETFs is currency diversification. Owning these ETFs is like owning a basket of currencies from outside the US.

These ETFs are on my retirement account watch list this year.

Disclosure: MyPlanIQ does not have any business relationship with the company or companies mentioned in this article. It does not set up their retirement plans. The performance data of portfolios mentioned above are obtained through historical simulation and are hypothetical.

Written By The Staff Of MyPlanIQ.com

LTI Systems, Inc. is the operator of MyPlanIQ.com and ValidFi.com. The founders of LTI Systems have extensive technology and business background in computer and semiconductor industries. They have been using the strategies provided by MyPlanIQ for their own personal retirement and taxable investments. The mission of LTI Systems is to make wealth management investment strategies that are used to be only accessible to institutions and high net worth individuals available to private investors with a fraction of flat cost and ease of use. The founders of LTI Systems, investors themselves, take pride in creating such a system and service for investors by taking the perspective from the investor side. They are using the system and the strategies for their own investment and align their interests with their customers.  

MyPlanIQ’s blog provides periodical articles to discuss issues related to retirement plans (401(k), 403(b) and IRAs), deferred compensation plans (457), college savings plans (529), taxable brokerage investment accounts, variable annuities and universal life insurance plans. It also covers investment strategies, specifically strategic and tactical asset allocation and investment products such as ETFs and mutual funds. In addition, it syndicates daily articles that are related to retirement planning, personal finance, investment strategies, annuities, insurance, college savings and market/economic outlooks. It provides a comment and discussion community for readers.

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