Emerging Global Launches India Sector Fund

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Global X rolled out sector funds for China a little over a year ago. Shortly thereafter, it launched two sector funds for Brazil, Now, Emerging Global Shares is first to market with an India sector fund with the EG Shares India Consumer ETF ( INCO).

The fund has 30 holdings, a 0.89 expense ratio and won't pay much of a dividend. There are 14 industries in the fund with the larger ones being automobiles and personal products each at 15%, media getting 10%, along with textiles, apparel & luxury goods also with 10%. The mix between consumer goods and consumer services is roughly 50/50.

The largest holdings in the fund are about 5% each with some names that might be familiar like Hindustan Unilever, Hero Honda Motors and Colgate Palmolive India. The parent companies will, of course, be familiar, and these are the Indian subsidiaries. But this is not the case with every company like Asian Paints Ltd. or Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd.

A big part of the investment thesis for the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and other emerging markets is the ascending middle class. Per capita income in India is currently $1,219 which is obviously a very low number but is up 18% from the previous year. Some estimates, like from StanChart, call for 9% annualized growth for many years into the future.

If that analysis is correct it means more money spent on all aspects of consumer life from toothpaste and food to better housing and new furniture to TVs and cars. The thesis is simple and if it plays out then this fund should capture that tailwind.

Investing in India has risks with a very poor population, corruption that impedes progress and creates inefficiencies in government, and a very volatile stock market which is down 17% year to date. Going forward, progress with the modernization will be lumpy as will equity market returns. Over any short period of time, a poorly entered trade could result in a swift loss as the market is moved regularly by surprise policy moves by the Reserve Bank of India, the central bank.

While some may be skeptical about sector funds for emerging-market countries it seems reasonably intuitive that in a country like India or Russia, if there are ever sector funds for Russia, it would be preferable to avoid a sector like financials. Consumer stocks make sense in India because they capture the ascending middle class. In Russia, it might be preferable to only own resource stocks as this is where the wealth in Russia comes from.

Where there is one sector fund now for India, EG Shares is likely to list other sector funds as well. Modernizing the country's infrastructure is going to require a lot of cement and so should a materials fund come and it be heavy in cement companies -- there are at least a dozen cement companies in India -- then that would seem to be another obvious way into the country along with the consumer sector.

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At the time of publication, Nusbaum had no positions in the securities mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

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; click here to send him an email.

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