Since the start of the year, EWJ has managed to perform positively, gaining approximately 10%. The fund's performance, however, has been trumped by the WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity ETF (DXJ), which has gained nearly 17% during this period.
Rebranded from the WisdomTree Japan Dividend Index ETF during the opening half of 2010, DXJ mimics EWJ's focus on large and recognizable names comprising Japan's markets. However, the fund expands its approach further, by hedging against yen fluctuations. Since its unveiling, DXJ's currency strategy caused it to lag against EWJ. As the yen has tumbled, however, the bet has begun to pay off.
Investors who feel that more pain is in store for the yen on the road ahead may find DXJ to be an attractive bet on the future. However, with economic conditions showing improvement, the nation's central bank may find itself easing up on the stimulus gas pedal.
As long as the global outlook continues to improve, both DXJ and EWJ will likely see upward action. However, those looking to make a bet on which will outperform in the coming months may want to hold off until more yen-related clues are uncovered.Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.