By The ETF Professor
Among diversified, multi-country emerging markets ETFs, the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) reign supreme. The two are not just the two biggest emerging markets ETFs, they are two of the 10 largest U.S. ETFs of any type.
While VWO and EEM have dominant perches in the world of emerging markets ETFs, they are not without legitimate competition. The $5 billion WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (DEM) and a few others stand as credible complements or alternatives to EEM and VWO.
Still, there are other options to consider among diversified developing world ETFs. Just take a look these funds your broker probably forgot to mention.
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund (DGRE)
It is forgivable that advisors and brokers may not have told their clients about the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Growth Fund yet because the fund is just six weeks old. However, DGRE has done an admirable job of attracting assets, over $15 million, in that time. That could be a sign investors have not given up on the dividend and emerging markets themes.
DGRE offers the income-minded emerging markets investor utility on multiple fronts. First, the new ETF features a 15.1 percent allocation to Brazil, so investors that want some exposure to Latin America's largest economy without the commitment and risk of a single-country fund can get that exposure with DGRE.
Second, with Russia, China and Taiwan combining for about 26 percent of DGRE's weight, the new ETF is not only well-allocated to some of the more dividend destinations in the developing world, but also some of the markets that trade at the deepest discounts relative to benchmark emerging markets indices.
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Asia ETF (EEMA)
The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Asia ETF does not get a lot of press, but if the current rally in developing world equities proves durable, this ETF is worth considering. EEMA says "Asia" in its name, but investors should take a deeper look before jumping to conclusions.
Given the intense volatility and savage losses delivered by ETFs tracking India, Indonesia and Thailand, investors may not want to embrace a multi-country ETF focused exclusively on Asia. The good news is those countries combine for just 17 percent of EEMA's weight.
An easy way of explaining this ETF, which is up 4.7 percent in the past week is that its largest holdings are many of the familiar stocks found in the top-10 lineups of the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), the iShares MSCI Taiwan ETF (EWT) and the iShares MSCI South Korea ETF (EWY). Those countries combine for 74 percent of EEMA's weight.
And do not be put off by EEMA's size. Since the ETF is allocated to large- and mega-caps, many of which trade in the U.S., it rarely trades at more than half percent premium or discount to its net asset value, according to iShares data.
EGShares EM Dividend High Income ETF (EMHD)
Although it has been a rough year for emerging markets ETFs, some issuers have continued to bring new, related products to market and many combine dividends and emerging markets.
EMHD tracks the FTSE Equal Weighted Emerging All Cap ex Taiwan Diversified Dividend Yield 50 Index and like the aforementioned DGRE, debuted last month. What is nifty about some of the EGShares ETFs, including EMHD, is that the funds either eschew BRIC exposure or have little to no weights to highly developed emerging markets like South Korea and Taiwan. The latter is the case with EMHD.
Brazil, South Africa and China combine for over 53 percent of this fund's weight. Interestingly, EMHD is not excessively weighted to mega-cap companies as the average market cap in its index is just $7.14 billion. More interesting to income investors is the 8.8 percent index dividend yield.
Disclosure: Long DEM. 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.
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