This has been a pretty rough quarter for the global stock market. China-led shocks, the return of recessionary threats in global superpowers like the Eurozone and Japan, nagging oil worries and a backtracking U.S. economy wreaked havoc on the global economy. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also lowered their outlook on global growth.
Along with economic slowdown, corporate earnings recession scared investors. Tensions intensified in the U.S. and European financial sectors in the early part of the year.
Though market sentiments restored somewhat in March with a slight rebound in oil prices, a raft of positive U.S. economic data and policy easing in foreign shores, the aforementioned headwinds weighed on the bourses in the year-to-date time frame.
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) has gained about 0.6% so far this year (as of March 29, 2016), while Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEARCA:VGK) has shed about 2.9% during the same time frame. iShares MSCI All Country Asia ex-Japan (NASDAQ:AAXJ) has added 1.3% and all-world ETF iShares MSCI ACWI (NASDAQ:ACWI) has gone up by 0.3% (read: Will European ETFs Continue to Underperform SPY?)
However, a few global ETFs have stood out so far in Q1 (with two more days to go). These have beaten the S&P 500 index as well as other global indices by a huge margin. After all, in this period, the ECB broadened its QE policy, BoJ made pro-growth changes in its accommodative policies by introducing negative rates and various economies resorted to rate cuts, which in turn aided the following global ETFs.
WisdomTree Commodity Country Equity ETF CCXE (NYSEARCA:CCXE)
The $7.6 million fund looks to track the performance of dividend-paying companies ranked by market capitalization from commodity countries. No stock accounts for more than 5.53% of the portfolio with StatoilHydro ASA, Ambev S.A., and Telecom Corporation of New Zealand Ltd. taking the top three positions.
Financials (24.33%), Energy (20.66%), Telecom (12.05%) and Consumer Staples (11.60%) have double-digit weight in the fund. The fund charges 58 bps in fees and has advanced about 8.4% in the year-to-date frame (as of March 29, 2016).
AdvisorShares Athena High Dividend ETF (NYSEARCA:DIVI)
This $7.2 million active ETF offers dividend yield of about 4.07%. The fund is heavy on North America (55%) followed by Latin America (23%) and Emerging Asia (16%). None of the stocks accounts for more than 4.25% of the portfolio. The fund is up 7.8% so far this year (read: 3 High Dividend ETFs Under $20 to Watch).
iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEARCA:ACWV)
What could be a more reasonable bet than a minimum volatility ETF in turbulent times? Quite expectedly, ACWV has added 6% so far this year (as of March 29, 2016).
This $2.57 billion fund tracks the MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility Index. Though the ETF provides exposure to low volatility stocks across the globe, U.S. accounts for more than half of the asset base. Apart from this, Japan is the only country with a double-digit allocation. In total, the fund holds 353 stocks with each accounting for no more than 1.48% of the assets. Financials, healthcare, consumer staples, and consumer discretionary are the top four sectors with double-digit allocation each. It charges 20 bps in annual fees (read:Can Low Volatility ETFs Save Your Portfolio from Market Rout?).
SPDR S&P Global Dividend ETF (NYSEARCA:WDIV)
This fund follows the S&P Global Dividend Aristocrats Index, which measures the performance of the companies that have raised dividends for at least 10 years consecutively. The $59.2 million product charges an annual fee of 40 bps.
WDIV also provides a nice balance across each component with none holding more than 2.45% share. Financials and utilities take the top two spots at 25.2% and 15.3%, respectively. The fund has gained 5.6% so far this year and yields about 4.34% annually.
FlexShares STOXX Global Broad Infrastructure ETF (NYSEARCA:NFRA)
This ETF could be appropriate for investors seeking to play the booming infrastructural activities worldwide. Investors should note that infrastructure is an interest rate sensitive sector, usually with strong yields. Thus, a still-low interest rate environment in the U.S. and rock-bottom interest rates in the Eurozone and Japan made this infrastructure ETF a winner.
The fund has exposure to each of these regions with the U.S. holding about 40.3% exposure, followed by Japan with 11.9% share, and 9.7% and 8.3% share taken by Canada and the U.K. respectively. NFRA yields 2.45% annually and has gained 5.42% so far this year (as of March 29, 2016).