There are 33 countries for which MSCI/Barra publishes an equities index and for which there is a country ETF (not necessarily following the MSCI index). Of those 33 indexes, 7 had positive total return (price + dividends) as of January 31 for 1 month, 3 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10 years. They are:
- Sweden - proxy (NYSEARCA:EWD)
- USA - reasonable proxies (NYSEARCA:VTI), (NYSEARCA:IWB), (NYSEARCA:IWV), (NYSEARCA:SPY), (NYSEARCA:IVV)
- Hong Kong - proxy (NYSEARCA:EWH)
- Canada (NYSEARCA:EWC)
- Taiwan (NYSEARCA:EWT)
- Korea (NYSEARCA:EWY)
- Malaysia (NYSEARCA:EWM).
Looking at January alone, the 7 highest total returns were mostly in Europe, as credit default fear moderated. The returns ranged from 13.75% to 3.54% (the best being Spain). Those 7 countries from best to worst were:
- Spain -proxy (NYSEARCA:EWP)
- Italy -proxy (NYSEARCA:EWI)
- France -proxy (NYSEARCA:EWQ)
- Germany -proxy (NYSEARCA:EWG)
- Netherlands -proxy (NYSEARCA:EWN)
- Russia -proxy (NYSEARCA:RSX)
- Sweden -proxy (EWD)
The 7 lowest total returns were all in emerging markets, ranging from -4.17% to -20.85% (the worst being Egypt). Egypt did not help those markets, but concerns about inflation, rising interest rates, rising food costs, and full valuation weighed on those markets. From best to worst they were:
- Egypt -proxy (NYSEARCA:EGPT)
- India - proxies (NYSEARCA:INP) and (NYSEARCA:EPI)
- South Africa -proxy (NYSEARCA:EZA)
- Indonesia -proxy (NYSEARCA:IDX)
- Turkey - proxy (NYSEARCA:TUR)
- Chile - proxy (NYSEARCA:ECH)
- Thailand -proxy (NYSEARCA:THD)
Holdings Disclosure: As of February 1, 2011, we hold positions in some but not all managed accounts for the following securities mentioned in this article: EWS, EWY, RSX, VTI, EWZ.
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