These exchange-traded funds own stocks from one part of the planet, such as Asia or Europe.
With funds in this category you can fine-tune your developed-market allocation into regional pieces. Perhaps you know which part of the world will have the better-performing stocks (not at all the same question as which will have the better-performing economies). Or, more plausibly, you don’t know that but do know something about loss harvesting.
By carving up a world stock portfolio into regional pieces you slightly improve the expected payoff of a loss-claiming strategy. That entails temporarily replacing a loser fund in a taxable account with an equivalent fund.
Suppose you buy both Vanguard FTSE Pacific (VPL) and Vanguard FTSE Europe (VGK), and that over the ensuing year Pacific goes down and Europe up. You could exit VPL in favor of the similar (but not identical) iShares Core MSCI (IPAC), wait 31 days, then swap back into the Vanguard fund.
Some of the funds in this category use derivatives to strip away the currency risk in foreign stocks. If the dollar strengthens, that strategy enhances returns. But if the dollar weakens, that strategy makes you worse off. And isn’t diversifying currency exposures one of the reasons to diversify abroad?
The two Vanguard funds, with low expense ratios and help from securities lending revenue, are extremely cheap to own and earn spots on the Honor Roll. The ones at the bottom cost 15 times as much.
Best ETFs: Regional Foreign Stocks
|Ticker||Exchange-Traded Fund||Holding Cost1||Liquidity Score2||Assets ($bil)|
|VPL||Vanguard FTSE Pacific*||$34||A||4.8|
|VGK||Vanguard FTSE Europe*||49||A+||18.9|
|IEUR||iShares Core MSCI Europe||113||A||2.8|
|IPAC||iShares Core MSCI Pacific||117||B||0.9|
|FLEH||Franklin FTSE Europe Hedged||184||D||0.04|
|FLEE||Franklin FTSE Europe||202||F||0.1|
|IEUS||iShares MSCI Europe Small-Cap||272||C||0.3|
|FEZ||SPDR Euro Stoxx 50||388||A||4.3|
|EUMV||iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Europe||418||C||0.04|
|GSEU||Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta Europe Eq||421||C||0.1|
|FEU||SPDR Stoxx Europe 50||444||C||0.2|
|HFXE||IQ 50 Percent Hedged FTSE Europe||532||F||0.2|
|ADRU||Bldrs Europe Select ADR||549||F||0.02|
|ADRA||Bldrs Asia 50 ADR||616||F||0.02|
|JPEU||JPMorgan Diversified Return Eurp Eq||624||C||0.1|
|JPEH||JPMorgan Divers Ret Eurp Ccy Hdgd||703||F||0.03|
|SCID||Global X Scientific Beta Europe||706||F||0.01|
*Best ETFs Honor Roll Member
1 Cumulative cost of holding a $10,000 position for a decade. Incorporates annual expense ratio, bid/ask spreads and cost offset from securities lending. 2Reflects bid/ask spreads and trading volume. A = easy to trade.
Data sources: Morningstar; Bloomberg; fund distributors.
Originally published at Forbes