Best Performing Single-Country ETFs Of 1H

Stocks across the globe suffered their worst first half of a year since 2010, wiping out trillions of dollars from the MSCI’s 47-country world index. The iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI - Free Report) , which targets the global stock market, has lost 0.3% year to date and Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US ETF (VEU - Free Report) , targeting the international equity market excluding the United States, has shed about 3.9%.

A combination of tariff tantrums, broad tech sell-off, the prospect of end to the cheap money era and cooling growth in many parts of the economy including Europe and Japan led to huge capital outflows from the stocks. Additionally, the strength in the U.S. dollar, which had its best first half in three years, added to the woes.

In particular, faster-than-expected rate hike speculation in the United States, escalating trade war tensions and a strong dollar led to bloodbath in the emerging market equities. MSCI’s widely-tracked emerging market equities index was down almost 8% in the first half. China, touted to be the world's growth engine, slipped into a bear market (down 20% from the last peak). Argentina and Turkey primarily dented investors’ portfolio as their currencies have fallen 30% and 17%, respectively, against the US dollar.

Trump’s anti-trade policies and the resultant escalation in a tit-for-tat tariff exchange as well as Fed rates hike will continue to affect global stocks in the months ahead.

However, a few countries have been spared in the global massacre and will likely maintain their strength. Below, we have highlighted three top-performing country ETFs that delivered near to double-digit returns in the first half. Any of these could be excellent plays for investors seeking to ride out the current market trend:

iShares MSCI Saudi Arabia Capped ETF (KSA - Free Report)

This fund offers exposure to the Saudi Arabian stock market, which has historically been closed to foreign investors. The entry of Saudi Arabia into the emerging market index by MSCI index provider starting in Jun 2019 led to the massive flow of billions of dollars into Middle East’s biggest economy. Per UBS Global Wealth Management, Saudi Arabia’s emerging market status will attract “significant” capital inflows of $45 billion to the kingdom.

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