Why Russian Small Caps are a Contrarian Pick

Doug Fabian

Doug Fabian is known for his expert knowledge of ETFs, bear funds and enhanced index funds to profit in any market climate.
[Vladimir Putin]

Due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shenanigans and the ongoing Ukraine situation, many Western investors are fleeing Russia. However, contrarian investors view this as an excellent opportunity to enter the Russian market on the cheap. After all, Russia’s political troubles cannot erase its large market, or its vast natural resources. If those give you enough reason to bet against the negative sentiment surrounding Russia, you may want to look into Market Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ).

This non-diversified fund seeks to match the performance, before fees and expenses, of an index composed of Russian small-capitalization companies.

This exchange-traded fund (ETF) is down a whopping 22.26% this year, mainly due to a precipitous drop in February and March, along with a smaller fall in recent months. This demonstrates just how negative investor sentiment has turned against Russia. However, RSXJ has begun to rally and is quickly approaching its 50- and 200-day moving averages. This fund offers a yield of 3.86%.


Reflecting Russia’s diverse economy, RSXJ is invested in a broad variety of sectors, with its largest allocations to real estate, 16.97%; industrials, 16.61%; basic materials, 16.13%; and utilities, 15.53%. This fund also has smaller weightings in energy, consumer cyclical, financial services, healthcare and consumer defensive.

RSXJ invests 64.09% of its assets in its top 10 individually held stocks. The top five of these holdings are Ak Transneft Oao-Pref, 8.44%; Transneft OJSC, 8.32%; Aeroflot Russian (AERZY), 7.15%; Aeroflot Russian Airlines JSC (AFLT), 7.08%; and PIK Group OJSC GDR (PIK), 6.63%.

If you believe the Russian market has reached a bottom and wish to bet against the negative investor sentiment swirling around Putin and his country’s actions, you may want to consider an investment in Market Vectors Russia Small-Cap ETF (RSXJ).

If you want my advice about buying and selling specific ETFs, including appropriate stop losses, please consider subscribing to my Successful ETF Investing newsletter. As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an e-mail. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

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