Posted on 09/28/2011
There has been quite a bit of swing in the financial market in the past couple of months, to say the least. With the level of the CBOE volatility index (VIX) hitting the upper 30's and lower 40's recently, those readings sure now feel like the old 20's. I'm sure we all feel like the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 keep going down each day despite the rally we went through earlier this week. However, when we look across the global markets, the U.S. is not the only one who is going through some tough time; in fact, it is one of the best performing countries. When we say "best performing," it doesn't neccessarily mean positive returns. In a situation similar to what we have now, whoever has gotten the smallest hole in their boat would be the winner. In this case, the U.S. market seems to be leaking at a slower pace than some of the foreign markets.
With that in mind, we decided to conduct a study to determine what other countries are now the new stars. As shown below, New Zealand as represented by the iShares MSCI New Zealand Investable Market Index Fund (ENZL) tops the leaderboard with a positive return of 3.36% year-to-date, the only country residing in the green territory among 40 ETFs we looked at, which include different regions in the world. Other countries included in the top 5 performers are Indonesia, Spain, and United Kingdom. The bottom 5 in the list below are down anywhere from -27% to -32% year-to-date.
If we look at the returns of those different regions of the market since the beginning of August, we see that the U.S. is still one of the top finishers, down the least of -9.53%. Included in the top of the board are Japan, New Zealand, Turkey, and United Kingdown; they are down anywhere from -10% to -12.5%. On the flip side, Austria and Polan are both in the bottom of the heap for both year-to-date and since August.