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Brazil ETF Could Have Even More Room to Grow

The iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund (EWZ) is trading right around the same level as it was near the beginning of the year.

However, this emerging market fund has an eye-popping long-run track record among ETFs, having appreciated more than 600% over the course of the past five years, and could have even more room to grow.

The fund's top holdings include names such as Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (RIO), Banco Bradesco (BBD) and Banco Itau Holding Financeria (ITU).

"It gives investors easy and cost-effective access to 70 of the largest companies in Brazil that represent roughly 85% of total Brazilian markets," says Dina Ting, portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investors.

Even though this ETF has already reeled in major returns for shareholders, one fund manager believes that it is only beginning to unlock its potential.

"Brazil has seen substantial domestic growth that has brought about a rising middle class," says Paul Brigandi, portfolio manager of the Direxion Latin America Bull 2X Fund (DXZLX). "The country is a huge producer of natural resources. With rising prices, commodity exporters have really benefited."

Brigandi's fund seeks to return shareholders 200% of the daily price performance of the Latin America 40 Index. To achieve this result, his fund uses EWZ as one of its top holdings.

Paul Sutherland, a portfolio manager for the Utopia Funds, is also optimistic toward Brazil's prospects for growth. "I really like what's going on in Brazil," he says, "I think on a long-term basis, they are absolutely going to develop into a first-world country."

The sky may be the limit for Brazil, but its upside potential comes with risks attached.

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