3 International ETFs Riding A Growth Trend

Includes: ASEA, EPHE, EWM, THD
by: Tom Lydon

Investors who look overseas for growth investments might want to take a look at Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand exchange traded funds that have posted positive returns over the past consecutive 10 years.

"It should be noted that in Southeast Asia, economic activity is somewhat concentrated in four countries namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. It appears that the growth caliber of this region is far greater than any other area of the globe at this time," Eric Dutram wrote for Zacks.

The MSCI emerging markets and developed markets country indices reveal that there are several countries that have posted positive returns over the past decade. The iShares MSCI Malaysia Index (NYSEARCA:EWM), iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index (NYSEARCA:EPHE) and iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index ETF (NYSEARCA:THD) have posted growth for the past 10 years in a row, reports Richard Shaw for Income Investing Strategy.

Malaysia's ETF has been impressing investors for at least the past five years, while posting growth over the past decade. This ETF is a bet that the Malaysian economic expansion continues into the new year, since there is no compelling reason why it would slow down anytime soon. Even after the strong performance of recent years, Malaysian stocks are still quite cheap, reports ETF DB. The current unemployment rate is practically at zero, and growth within the consumer sector is a big driver of the economy. EWM has returned about 22.4% year-to-date, and announced that the fund will yield a 1.97% dividend to shareholders beginning this month.

EPHE has been one of the best-performing ETFs in 2012, up 39.2% year-to-date. The recent industrialization of the economy has helped the local economy, and the even-sector approach to the focused ETF covers all areas of the country. Politically, the Philippines is stable, and the government is dedicated to adhering to political reform. Even amid the global economic instability, the Philippines has remained dedicated to building a strong platform for growth.

Thailand is a newly developed market, and education and employment for the younger generations are a priority for the government. The related ETF, THD, focuses on financial services, energy and basic materials. THD has been posting impressive results for at least the past five years, and is up 43.5% year-to-date. The fund also captures the growing financial sector in Thailand, and is an accurate measure of the Thai equity market, reports Eric Dutram for Zacks.

The Global X FTSE ASEAN 40 ETF (NYSEARCA:ASEA) is a one-stop investment that includes some Southeast Asian countries. ASEA is the one ETF that covers the Southeast Asian region. China is included in the line-up, and has the highest allocation, with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand rounding out the holdings.

iShares MSCI Malaysia Index
(click image to enlarge)

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.