NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Although the devastating earthquake and tsunami that tore through Japan during the opening half of 201l cast a thick fog of uncertainty over the nation's markets, some of the doubts circling this nation have been lifted in recent weeks.
As we move further into the second half of the year, Japan is showing signs that it is gathering steam and investors with a tolerance for risk may find this recovering corner of the globe to be an attractive option to keep on the radar.
Evidence of Japan's increasing strength can be seen by comparing the recent performance of iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (EWJ) to that of broader global products such as the iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA) and the Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT).
Over the past 30 days, shares of EWJ have jumped nearly 3%. EFA and VT, meanwhile, have remained subdued, dipping over 5% and nearly 4% respectively.In recent commentary for ETFProfits, I noted that EWJ's standout performance in recent weeks has translated into an impressive rise in our short term momentum rankings. The fund's upward action has led to steady, albeit less dramatic, gains in our long term rankings as well. The near term action seen by EWJ bodes well for Japan's prospects. Looking ahead, it appears as though the nation's run is not over. Early Wednesday, it was announced that the nation's industrial output data for May had been revised higher to 6.2%, a welcomed increase to an already-strong initial reading of 5.7%. According to Reuters, this strong showing suggests that "the economy is on course for a rapid recovery following the massive earthquake in March." Investors looking to get a front row seat to the nation's resurgence will want to keep a close watch on broad Japan-tracking ETFs. Traditionally, iShares' EWJ has been the go-to product for investors looking to tap into the Japanese equity markets. Designed to track the performance of the MSCI Japan Index, the fund has gathered a massive following over its lifetime. According to the June ETF data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, EWJ currently boasts $7.2 billion in assets, placing it just shy of 30 largest ETFs.
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