Brazil ETF Options Beyond EWZ

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 |  Includes: BRAZ, BRF, BZQ, EWZ, EWZS, FBZ, UBR
by: Tom Lydon

Brazil, one of the pillars of emerging market growth, has been an attractive locale for investors to diversify their international exposure. While investors have focused on the $8.7 billion iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWZ), there are also other Brazil exchange traded funds to consider.

The iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund follows the MSCI Brazil Index, a market-cap weighted index that tracks Brazilian stocks. Because of its weighting methodology, the fund leans toward the state-run oil company Petrobras and mining firm Vale, which account for about a third of the ETF's holdings. The financials sector accounts for the largest allocation at 25.0%, followed by energy 20.0% and materials 18.9%. EWZ has a 0.59% expense ratio.

Investors can also take a look at First Trust Brazil AlphaDEX Fund (NASDAQ:FBZ) as an alternative. This ETF follows a modified equal-weighting methodology that selects companies based on value and growth factors. As such, it has about a 66% weighting in mid-cap stocks and no single holding accounts for more than 3.9%. The First Trust Brazil AlphaDEX Fund's largest sector allocations include consumer staples 15.8%, materials 15.6% and utilities 15.2%. FBZ has a 0.82% expense ratio.

While the Global X Brazil Mid Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:BRAZ) tracks the Solactive Brazil Mid Cap Index, the ETF also includes significant allocations to large caps. BRAZ holds about 62% in large-cap Brazilian stocks and 37% in mid-caps, according to Morningstar. Top sector allocations include utilities 25.5%, telecommunications 11.5% and financials 10.9%. BRAZ has a 0.69% expense ratio.

If you believe in the Brazil's growing domestic economy, smaller companies may be a better fit.

The Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap ETF (NYSEARCA:BRF) tries to reflect the performance of the Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap Index, which provides exposure to Brazilian small-caps. As such, the fund has a higher allocation in consumer discretionary names at 33.2%, followed by industrials at 22.2% and financials at 12.3%. BRF has a 0.59% expense ratio.

Along with BRF, investors may look at the iShares MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWZS), which tracks the MSCI Brazil Small Cap Index. Top sector allocations include consumer discretionary 34.8%, industrials 23.4% and financials 18.4%. Like the Market Vectors Brazil Small-Cap ETF, EWZS also leans toward domestically oriented firms. EWZS has a 0.59% expense ratio.

For those seeking quick actions in Brazilian equities or a short-term hedge, investors may look at leveraged and inverse options. Leveraged and inverse ETFs are meant as short-term investments as they may not perfectly track the underlying holdings over an extended period due to compounding issues as a result of daily rebalancing.

The ProShares Ultra MSCI Brazil (NYSEARCA:UBR) provides twice, or 200%, the daily performance of the MSCI Brazil Index, and the ProShares UltraShort MSCI Brazil (NYSEARCA:BZQ) generates twice, or 200%, the inverse of the daily performance of the MSCI Brazil Index. Both funds have a 0.95% expense ratio.

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.