Russia ETFs Lag Behind Other BRIC Economies

by: Tom Lydon

Among the big four BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India and China - emerging market economies, Russian stocks and related exchange traded funds are lagging behind.

Now, JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) has cut its outlook on Russian equities.

Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEARCA:RSX) declined 13.8% year-to-date, whereas the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (NYSEARCA:FXI) dipped 10.9%, iShares MSCI Brazil Capped Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWZ) 4.9% is lower and WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (NYSEARCA:EPI) dropped 5.1%.

JP Morgan has cut Russia's weighting to underweight from neutral as the underperforming oil sector, namely the state-run Gazprom, which accounts for about half of the government's revenue, has made little progress in reducing the government's deficit or improving the state's pension system, reports Michael Patterson for Bloomberg.

"Investors point to low valuations on Russian stocks as a bull case, but they cannot really answer our questions about what improvements they have seen recently in the policy environment or the expectations of future improvements," Adrian Mowat, JP Morgan's chief Asia and emerging-market strategist, wrote in a research note.

The economy ministry has reduced its 2013 economic growth forecast to 2.4% from 3.6% earlier April, short of Putin's 5% growth target, according to the Dow Jones Newswires.

President Vladimir Putin, though, said that the economy remains robust.

"I do not want to dramatize the situation unnecessarily. The Russian economy has a sufficient safety net. Many analysts believe growth in the second-quarter is expected to recover," Putin said, RT Business reports.

Other Russia ETFs include:

  • iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund (NYSEARCA:ERUS): down 14.8% year-to-date
  • SPDR S&P Russia ETF (NYSEARCA:RBL): down 12.8% year-to-date
  • Market Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:RSXJ): down 10.8% year-to-date

Market Vectors Russia ETF

Max Chen 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.