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TheStreet Open House

ETFs in the BRICs May No Longer Do the Trick

Stocks in this article: EEM EWZ TRF IFN CHN FM VNM EMIF PXR ECON CQQQ

In the "where the money is being spent" category investors should consider emerging-market infrastructure funds. There are five funds in this space with the largest being the iShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETF (EMIF). EMIF primarily owns the cash flow companies of infrastructure like airports, toll roads and energy transportation.

The PowerShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure Portfolio (PXR) offers more exposure to the builders of infrastructure in the more volatile materials and industrial sectors. Its constituency makes PXR more volatile than EMIF.

The largest proxy for the demographic theme is the EG Shares Emerging Markets Consumer ETF (ECON). Over the last year ECON has only outperformed EEM by 300 basis points, according to Google Finance but since its inception in 2010 it has outperformed EEM by more than 25 percentage points.

A more volatile way to capture the emerging-market consumer would be with the Guggenheim China Technology ETF (CQQQ), which is up 38% in the last year.

EG Shares has been a leader in research on the consumer. It notes that consumer spending accounts for 53% of economic activity in developing markets compared to 68% in the U.S. The implication is that as a middle class emerges in the developing countries, newfound disposable income will pursue the perception of an Americanized lifestyle which should benefit consumer and tech stocks.

These investment ideas offer no assurances for outperformance, but they do offer fundamental tailwinds that provide reasonable opportunity.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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