NEW YORK ( TheStreet ) -- Emerging markets have been sinking. During the past year, Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF ( VWO) lost 4.6%, while the S&P 500 gained 16.2%. Analysts blame the poor results on a range of factors. Weak commodity prices hurt exporters in countries such as Russia and Brazil. In addition, investors dumped emerging markets holdings as fears mounted that the Federal Reserve's tapering program could disrupt markets. But not all emerging markets ETFs have suffered equally. For the year, PowerShares Golden Dragon China ( PGJ) returned 43.2% while EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer ETF ( ECON) returned 3.0%. WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend ( DGS) lost 0.2%. EEM) provide exposure to countries that should continue growing faster than the developed world.
EGShares Emerging Markets Consumer ETF holds some of the strongest names in the sector. A holding is Naspers ( NPSNY), a South African company that provides e-commerce and media services. The company offers pay TV to six million households in Africa. Another holding is Companhia de Bebidas Das Americas ( ABV), a beverage company that produces and distributes Pepsi, Budweiser and other brands throughout Latin America. BIDU), the dominant Chinese search engine. The fund only has 9% of assets in basic materials, financials, and energy. In contrast, iShares China Large-Cap ( FXI) -- the biggest China ETF with $5.1billion in assets -- has 71% of assets in basic materials, financials, and energy. The PowerShares approach has paid dividends. During the past five years, the fund returned 2.7% annually, while the iShares ETF lost 1.8% annually. WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend ranks as one of the top performers in the sector. During the past five years, the fund returned 6.1% annually, compared to 0.3% for iShares MSCI Emerging Markets. Because it only takes stocks that rank in the bottom 10% according to market capitalization, the WisdomTree fund excludes many of the giant exporters that dominate the four biggest emerging markets -- the so-call BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Instead, the small-cap fund holds sizable positions in such countries as Malaysia and Thailand. Those have strong consumer stocks that should continue growing. At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Follow @StanLuxenberg This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.