Brazil has emerged from the global economic crisis with a stronger financial system and a positive outlook, and the iShares MSCI Brazil Index (EWZ) has responded by rising more than 42% year to date.
While much of Brazil's, and EWZ's, success will depend on the continuing recovery of the commodity markets, the country's fundamentals will undoubtedly help support a continued upswing. Brazil's current administration has taken formidable steps to renew the country's financial system, and countries around the globe are eager to invest in this commodities-rich nation.
Exchange-traded funds are an excellent way to gain exposure to Brazil, and the ETF industry has responded to the nation's potential with a number of Brazil-themed products. With a three-month average daily trading volume of more than 21 million shares, EWZ dominates the group, but a recent offering from Van Eck ETF group Market Vectors, the Brazil Small-Cap ETF (BRF), has already attracted ample investor interest. For sophisticated investors interested in currency trading, Wisdom Tree offers the Dreyfus Brazilian Real Fund (BZF). The three ETFs mentioned are very different in their construction.
iShares Brazil (EWZ)
EWZ is the largest and most liquid of the Brazil ETFs. On July 10, EWZ hit the nine-year mark since inception, making this the most time-tested fund of the bunch. EWZ tracks the MSCI Brazil Index, and contains 67 Brazilian companies that trade primarily on the Bolsa de Valores de Sao Paulo. EWZ is a market-cap weighted fund, and its portfolio components account for approximately 85% of the Brazilian stock market. Since the fund picks stocks by market cap, large-cap holdings dominate EWZ. Two different Petrobras (PBR - Get Report) shares make up the top two holdings of EWZ, comprising 24.18% of the fund.