With roiling news overseas in 2016 - most notably the Brexit vote in the U.K., economic volatility in China and Middle Eastern oil prices at a 12-year low - 2016 was a mixed bag for international exchange traded funds.
Data from Zacks Research reveal that regional fund performance was stronger in Asia than in Europe for the year and that foreign bourses with "easy money policies" outperformed in 2016.
Zacks cites SPDR S&P International Materials Sector ETF (IVR) , up 18.7% for the year, and Oppenheimer ADR Revenue ETF (RTR) , up 11.8%, as two of the top funds for 2016. The former is stocked full of global industrial companies, especially in Japan, Germany and China. The latter focuses on the S&P ADR Index, including "top line" companies like Toyota Motor Corp., Spon ADR, Petrochina Co Ltd -ADR, and China Petroleum & Chem-ADR.
"The global markets have been on a roller coaster ride this year thanks to some key developments," Zacks said in a December research post. "Initially, several China-driven offhand events and a 12-year low oil price triggered a market rout while Brexit swept it away with fears and uncertainties in June."
"Meanwhile, growth worries in global superpowers like the Euro-zone and Japan continued to peek and hide," the firm adds. "However, confirmation of easy money policies in both regions offered some moderate market bounces in the last leg of the year. Comparatively, emerging markets have done well this year thanks mainly to a commodity market recovery and subdued greenback for the most of the year."