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The Case for Investing in China ETFs



The fact that China ETFs have had a remarkably difficult ride lately -- the fact that investors have dismissed the China story as last decade's phenomenon - is important for a trend-follower like myself. I may believe in the resilience of Asia. I may be swayed by attractive valuations of exchange-traded funds in the region. Nevertheless, I do not disregard the critical nature of technical price movement.

Until recently, the only China ETFs to reward investors for the risks being taken were tied to technology. The short list of technology-driven China ETFs includes: PowerShares Golden Dragon Halter (PGJ), Guggenheim China Technology (CQQQ) and Global X China Technology (QQQC). In contrast, a broad-market China believer has been whipsawed more frequently than he/she dares to count.

On the flip side, the technical and fundamental pictures for funds like SPDR China (GXC) are clearly improving. Technically, each of the last three breaches of the 200-day moving average on the downside occurred at a higher price than its previous breach. What's more, the dips below the "200-day" have been relatively short-lived. Fundamentally, three years of futility places GXC's forward P/E at 10, dividend yield at 2.4% and P/B at 1.5. Contrast that with the S&P 500's SPDR Trust (SPY) with a forward P/E at 16, dividend yield at 1.8% and P/B at 2.5.

I am not suggesting that it is time for everyone to hop back aboard the Orient Express. At present, most of my clients do not have much in the way of exposure to emerging market equities. That said, I can see the forest for the trees; I am continuing to monitor the signs for the inevitable resurgence in appetite for market-based securities of Chinese corporations.

Perhaps the most intriguing possibility? DB X-Trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A Shares Fund (ASHR). This fund is the only U.S.-listed ETF that invests directly in China A-Shares -- shares of companies incorporated on the mainland and trading on the Shenzhen and/or Shanghai exchanges. It is believed that ASHR provides more access to domestically focused companies than the internationally focused H-Shares found in SPDR China (GXC) or iShares FTSE China 25 (FXI). At present, ASHR is demonstrating greater upside momentum than the competition.

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

Certified Financial Planner Gary A. Gordon, MS, is the president of Pacific Park Financial, an SEC-registered investment adviser in California. He has more than 23 years of experience as a personal coach in money matters, including risk assessment, small-business development and portfolio management, and has taught finance in Mexico, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S. He wrote the draft copy for Maverick Investing, a McGraw-Hill publication, and writes commentary for Seeking Alpha in addition to ETF Expert, for which he also hosts the ETF Expert Radio Podcast.
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