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Brazil Knocks China Down a Few Rungs

Stocks in this article: VALE EWZ PBR

The infrastructure fund's largest industry weighting is metals and mining, at 14%, followed by telecom, also 14%, utilities, 12%, independent power producers, 11%, and transportation infrastructure, 8.2%. Despite only having 30 stocks in the fund, the ETF's largest stocks account for only about 5% of assets, which dilutes some of the potential risk. The biggest holdings are Centrais Eletricas Brasileiras SA (EBR), a utility, Companhia de Concessoes Rodoviarias, a toll-road company, Vivo Participacoes SA (VIV), a telecom stock, and Vale (VALE), the mega-cap miner.

The focus and composition of the ETF make it superior to the iShares MSCI Brazil Index Fund. A big issue with many single-country funds is that they're heavy in financial stocks. A portfolio that includes several such funds can end up being dramatically overweight in the financial sector, which, depending on your view, can either be a vague risk or an immediate and tangible risk.

The iShares fund has much larger weightings in individual companies. The combined weight of Petrobras (PBR) and Petrobras' preferred stock is 21%; for Vale and its preferred stock, 17%, and ITAU Unibanco (ITUB) makes up 8%. Those three companies add up to 45% of the ETF.

The case for the EG Shares INDXX Brazil Infrastructure Index Fund versus the broader iShares fund is that the new ETF isolates the heart of the economy. Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Those events will serve as catalysts for modernization, setting up gains for the INDXX Brazil Infrastructure Index Fund.

At the time of publication, Vale was a client holding.

Roger Nusbaum is a portfolio manager with Your Source Financial of Phoenix, and the author of Random Roger's Big Picture Blog. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Nusbaum appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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