This Latin American country has a complicated history. One hundred years ago Argentina, like the U.S., was emerging as a globally dominant economic power. But a string of bad luck and bad policy led to persistent inflation and other troubles, including an economic crisis 10 years ago that devastated the Argentine peso.
Today there is still high inflation and policy that is unfriendly to investors. Nonetheless, there is a bullish case to be made, and if it plays out, the new Argentina ETF should benefit.
As denoted in the name, there are 20 stocks in this fund, which means it's concentrated.
Among sectors, the fund's largest exposure is to energy, which makes up 33% of its holdings, followed by financials with 21%, technology with 10% and materials with 9%.
The huge weighting to energy may not be quite what it seems as
is the fund's largest holding, accounting for almost 20%, and is considered to be in the energy sector.
Tenaris supplies equipment (primarily pipes) for the oil industry, and so this company could be thought of as an industrial company.
Either way, Tenaris has not been much of a proxy for the energy sector as its chart looks nothing like the
Energy Select SPDR
Another large holding is
, which accounts for 10% of the fund and represents its entire technology allocation.
Mercado Libre is often referred to as the
of Latin America and taps in to the emerging middle class of the entire region, not just Argentina.
One note about all the holdings in the fund: Because of restrictions of foreign ownership of ordinary shares, the Global X Argentina ETF will only own American depositary receipts and American depositary shares of Argentinean companies. While this is unusual, it could, if anything, make the fund a little cheaper -- the expense ratio is 0.75% -- than it otherwise would be if the fund provider had to trade in the local market.
The Global X Web site has lots of explanation about why Argentina is a promising investment destination, but the positive side of the story is very simple.
Many parts of the world are becoming more prosperous, which means improved diet and increased demand for all sorts of food products.
Argentina is an agricultural economy exporting various grains and beef around the world. As food demand continues to increase, Argentina's economy stands to benefit, increasing living standards for its population and boosting profits for its businesses in general.
This does not mean the fund can only go up or that Argentina wouldn't be hurt in the face of a global stock market decline, but the existence of this long-term catalyst makes Argentina a compelling, although potentially volatile, investment over a period of years.
It's important to note, however, that this fund's direct agricultural exposure is low, with a 4.6% allocation to
This means that the fund stands to be an indirect beneficiary of the agricultural theme, not a direct one.
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;
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