The first quarter of 2011 was remarkable in terms of the scope and scale of natural and man-made disasters — any one of which would typically have been forecast to derail both the economic and market recoveries. Yet, the markets trended toward climbing each wall of worry well.
The second quarter of 2011 did not. As supply-side issues from the prior quarters’ disasters converged with spiking food and energy prices, as well as escalating Eurozone and geopolitical tensions, the markets slid.
But as they slid, peak commodity prices backed down; oil ended the quarter at a four-month low, while gold nicked back to a peak set five weeks back. And, as I have said before, I think that as higher commodity prices tend to beget lower ones, so lower stock prices tend to beget higher ones.
One ETF that continues to dominate the international camp, PowerShares International Dividend Achievers (NYSE:PID), stays while Europe 2001 HOLDRS (NYSE:EKH) flipped for Spain. The iShares MSCI EAFE Value (NYSE:EFV) remains.
What is remarkable to me about these funds is their ability to push past other growth regions in a bid for bargains in Europe’s basement. Gold continues to hold its own, despite my fundamental interest in other sector picks.
iShares COMEX Gold (NYSE:IAU)
This ETF benchmarks to the actual price of gold. The trust’s objective is for the share price to represent the price of gold held by the trust at a certain time, minus the trust’s expenses.
It began trading in January 2005 and has a market value of over $7 billion. While Global Quant continues to like it, I continue to find little fundamental evidence to support it.
iShares MSCI EAFE Value (NYSE:EFV)
The MSCI EAFE Value Index underlies this ETF that began trading in August 2005. Its market value of over $1.4 billion makes it liquid, but watch worthy.
The top three sectors are financials (34.8%), energy (12%) and health care (10%). The top five countries are Japan (19.7%), UK (18.7%), France (12%), Germany (9.3%) and Australia (8.5%).
iShares MSCI Spain (NYSE:EWP)
In my opinion, if Spain goes, the Eurozone goes. It’s too big to fail and too big to bail out. EWP seeks investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the MSCI Spain Index. It began trading in March 1996 and has a market value of over $220 million.
The top three sectors are financials (42.5%), telecommunications services (18.3%) and utilities (14.7%).
PowerShares Dynamic Large Cap Value (NYSE:PWV)
The Dynamic Large Cap Value Intellidex Index began trading in March 2005 and has a market value of approximately $420 million. It’s designed to “provide capital appreciation while maintaining consistent stylistically accurate exposure. The Style Intellidexes apply a rigorous ten factor style isolation process to objectively segregate companies into their appropriate investment style and size universe.”
The top three sectors are health care (22.3%), financials (20.6%) and information technology (14.2%).
Power Shares International Dividend Achievers (NYSE:PID)
The International Dividend Achievers Index began trading in September 2005 and has a market value of over $520 million. It’s designed to “identify an international group of American Depository Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts and non-U.S. common or ordinary stocks that have qualified as International Dividend Achievers. These companies have increased their annual dividend for five or more consecutive fiscal years.” The portfolio is rebalanced quarterly and reconstituted annually.
The top three sectors are telecommunications services (24%), energy (17%), and consumer staples (12.6%). The top country representations are UK (28.4%), Canada (18.1%), U.S. (7.7%), Israel (5.2%) and Switzerland (4.8%).