Consider Exposure to Korean Growth

Doug Fabian

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

This week’s column gives an overview of the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (EWY), a single-county exchange-traded fund (ETF) that provides exposure to a selection of large- and mid-cap South Korean companies.

As with most investments that are oriented towards South Korea, this fund has a very large position in Samsung, which is headquartered near the country’s capital city of Seoul. Indeed, more than 20% of EWY’s assets are allocated to Samsung, which plays a significant role in South Korea’s economy.

For that reason, any potential investors in this fund should be comfortable with investing in Samsung, which made the unprecedented decision in October to recall all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after some of them spontaneously burst into flames during use.

Investors who are undeterred by the fallout from that news and interested in gaining exposure to Samsung shares as they recover can avoid paying international security fees by investing directly in EWY. Plus, EWY does offer a fair degree of diversity, as the index this fund tracks contains 107 stocks.

In terms of EWY’s sector weightings, the largest group is technology at 38%, followed by financial services, consumer cyclicals and industrials.

In the course of the past 52 weeks, EWY has risen 17.5%. This rise beats U.S. domestic markets and shows the potential of emerging markets to post big gains. EWY’s double-digit percentage return also means that EWY outperformed many other emerging market funds this year. In total, EWY has more than $3 billion in assets, and its expense ratio of 0.62% is normal for a single-country fund. Its dividend yield of about 2% is paid out annually.

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View the current price, volume, performance and top 10 holdings of EWY at

The fund’s top five holdings are Samsung Electronics Ltd., 23.09%; SK Hynix Inc., 4.01%; Naver Corp., 3.19%; Hyundai Motor, 3.12%; and Shinhan Financial Group Ltd., 2.92%. The top 10 holdings comprise 47.88% of assets.

During the past 30 years, South Korea has surged massively to become a global leader in technology. If you believe this growth may continue, you may wish to consider what the iShares South Korea Capped ETF (EWY) can offer.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk

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