For individual investors, emerging markets have become financial Kryptonite. A record $105 billion was yanked out of global mutual funds last year, with outflows accelerating so far in 2016, according to mutual fund monitoring service EPFR.
Once all the rage, emerging markets are getting clobbered by a "perfect storm" of declining energy and commodity prices, capital outflows and plunging currencies. This confluence of dangerous trends will soon trigger the collapse of several fundamentally weak global stocks.
A major catalyst for the widespread abandonment of emerging markets is China. Once the world's global growth engine, the Middle Kingdom is now a drag on energy and commodity producers everywhere.
Since 2010, China's economy has steadily slowed with each passing year. The latest official statistics show the economy grew 6.9% year over year in 2015. That compares with 7.3% in 2014 and 7.7% in 2013. Forecasting firm IHS projects that China's growth rate will fall even further to 6.3% in 2016. The strong dollar and predictions of a bear market in 2016 only exacerbate the woes of China and other emerging markets.
In a recent survey of more than 100 investment managers conducted by asset management firm Northern Trust, the top risk factor cited by respondents was China and how it will continue to weigh heavily on growth rates in developing nations. This dynamic puts many once-popular stocks in danger of crashing soon.
Released last week, the Northern Trust survey raises the alarm about vulnerable emerging markets, just as the rest of the global economy shows signs of weakness as well. All of these red flags add up to one unmistakable conclusion: It's time to short emerging markets.
Below are three inverse exchange-traded funds that are sure ways to profit from the seemingly unstoppable decline this year of emerging markets. We list them in ascending order of risk. The greater the risk, the greater the potential reward, as the year-to-date and one-year returns for each ETF amply demonstrate. The fund you choose depends on your appetite for risk.
This ETF seeks daily investment results that correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. With net assets of $416.89 million, the ETF includes stocks in each industry group in emerging-market countries.
The fund has gained 10.9% and 29%, year to date and over the past year, respectively. The expense ratio is a reasonable 0.95%.
This ETF seeks daily investment results that correspond to twice the inverse (-2x) of the daily performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. With net assets of $74.49 million, the ETF covers each major industry group. The fund has gained 22% and 60%, year to date and over the past year, respectively. Expense ratio: 0.95%.
This ETF seeks daily investment results that correspond to three times the inverse (-3x) of the daily performance of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. With net assets of $111.61 million, at least 80% of the fund's holdings are in derivatives. The fund has gained 34% and 90%, year to date and over the past year, respectively. Expense ratio: 0.95%.
It's not just China and emerging markets that are in trouble this year. A wide swath of fundamentally weak stocks are poised to crash this year, as global markets continue to roil with uncertainty. Problem is, many of these vulnerable stocks are popular holdings in retirement portfolios, which places unsuspecting investors at great risk. For a list of the most dangerous equities in the world today, click here. If you own any of these stocks, sell them immediately before you get burned. Download a free copy of our eye-opening report, before the coming bear market hits.
John Persinos is editorial manager and investment analyst at Investing Daily. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.