Since the Dow and S&P 500 hit their respective 2011 highs of 12,928.45 and 1,370.58 on May 2, they have fallen nearly 8%. So, I dug up the following ETFs that have demonstrated some nimbleness in the midst of this negativity. I also provide a measure of judging economic openness for countries.
New Zealand - iShares MSCI New Zealand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEARCA:ENZL) is up by 0.97% since May 2. The fund has $115.7 M in assets with an expense ratio of 0.55%. New Zealand GDP grew by 0.20% in Q4 2010 from the previous quarter with inflation at 4.5%. The latest unemployment rate was 6.6%. The three-month interest rate is 2.64% alongside a 5.12% rate on 10-year government bonds. The country suffered significant earthquakes in September 2010 and February of this year with an estimated ~$15 B in damage. This is the fourth freest economy in the world.
Malaysia - iShares MSCI Malaysia Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWM) is down by 1.2% since May 2. The fund has $970.9 M in assets with an expense ratio of 0.53%. Malaysia GDP declined 3.2% in Q1 2011 from the previous quarter with inflation at 3.2%, but the country has an unemployment rate of 3.0%, a 3-month interest rate of 3.24%, and a 2.18% rate on 10-year government bonds. The Heritage Foundation rates this as the 53rd freest economy in the world. According to Gary Gordon, Malaysia is set to benefit from Japan’s reconstruction.
Indonesia - Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF (NYSEARCA:IDX) is down by 3.59% since May 2. The fund has $558.8 M in assets with an expense ratio of 0.60%. Indonesia GDP grew by 6.5% compared to Q1 2010. Inflation came in at 5.98% in May. The unemployment rate was 6.8% in February. However, the 3-month interest rate is 9.71% with a 10-year rate of 4.32%. Buyer beware, the country is ranked 116th out of 179 in the Index of Economic Freedom.
SPDR Nuveen S&P High Yield Municipal Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:HYMB) is down by 0.46% since May 2. The fund made its debut on April 13, 2011, and has $46.6 M in assets under management with an expense ratio of 0.45%. The dividend yield is 0.43%. On this list, this is the safest place to park your money to let the markets digest economic data and political turmoil over the next several months.
PowerShares Insured New York Municipal Bond Portfolio Fund (NYSEARCA:PZT) is up by 1.79% since May 2. The fund has $37.5 M in assets with a net expense ratio of 0.28%. It also has a dividend yield of 4.50%. This has been around since October 2007.
PowerShares Insured National Municipal Bond Portfolio Fund (NYSEARCA:PZA) is up by 2.12% since May 2. The fund has $504.6 M in assets with a net expense ratio of 0.28%. The dividend yield is 4.78%, and 95.96% of the securities in the fund are rated above A.
Vanguard Mortgage-Backed Securities ETF (NASDAQ:VMBS) is up 1.23% since May 2. The fund has $68.5 M in total assets with a very low expense ratio of 0.15%. The dividend yield is 2.08%, and first traded on November 19, 2009.
iShares S&P US Preferred Stock Index Fund (NYSEARCA:PFF) is down by 1.38% since May 2. The fund has $7.8 B in assets with an expense ratio of 0.48%. The 12-month/dividend yield is 7.19%. If you are looking for individual preferred stocks, take a look at these that adjust to higher interest rates.
iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund (NYSEARCA:AGG) is up by 1.05% since May 2. The fund has $11.6 B in assets with an expense ratio of 0.24%. The 12-month/dividend yield is 3.39%. However, I must warn you that higher interests will negatively impact the price. So, get into this if you are looking for a relatively safe spot over the next six months.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, but may initiate a long position in PFF over the next 72 hours.