Don't Chase These 4 Top Country ETFs

09/20/2012 10:55 am EST

Focus: ETFs

Thomas Aspray

, Professional Trader & Analyst

Some of these market leading global ETFs could be good buys in the near future, but they look increasingly vulnerable right now. MoneyShow's Tom Aspray is waiting for a likely pullback to determine which of these plays can provide strong gains for the rest of the year.

Overnight preliminary data on Chinese manufacturing reflected further contraction, which has pushed global equity prices lower in early trading. The Shanghai Composite was down over 1%.

Some economists are noting that the rate of contraction in manufacturing has slowed, and are expecting the recent easing to cause moderate economic growth by the end of the year. The outlook for exports was also weaker than expected, so further measures to promote exports are expected in October.

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The global effort of the world's central bankers to ease monetary policy has caused most equity markets to surge in September. The table above reflects a monthly scan of many of the top country ETFs. The Starc band and oversold/overbought analysis reflect the data as of the close on August 31.

The iShares MSCI Malaysia ETF (EWM) tops the list, as it closed August 12% below its monthly Starc+ band. I have also added the Spyder Trust (SPY) as a reference. As of the end of August, it would have lead the list at 11% below its monthly Starc+ band of $156.20. SPY is now just 6% below its monthly Starc+ band, while EWM is 9.5% below its monthly Starc+ band.

I have also added the ETFs' percentage gain so far in September. The iShares Hong Kong ETF (EWH) and iShares Mexico ETF (EWW) lead that list, up 7.6% and 6.8% respectively, well above the performance of SPY. So should you be buying any of these ETFs right now?

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Chart Analysis: The iShares MSCI Switzerland Index (EWL) is up 6% so far in September, and the weekly chart shows a broad trading range (lines a and b) that has been in effect since the middle of 2011.

  • The chart resistance is at $26.20, with the monthly starc+ band at $27.86

  • In early 2011, EWL did outperform the S&P 500, but since June the relative performance has been in a solid downtrend (line c).

  • The RS analysis does not yet show a completed bottom formation.

  • The weekly on-balance volume (OBV) is above its WMA but is still below its major downtrend (line d).

  • There is long-term OBV support at line e.

  • The chart has first support in the $24.50 area, with more important levels at $23.50.

The iShares MSCI Hong Kong ETF (EWH) has been the strongest, as it is up 7.6% so far this month. With Wednesday’s close at $18.28, it is now quite close to its weekly Starc+ band at $18.58.

  • The weekly downtrend (line f) was broken last week, as the March 2012 highs are being tested.

  • The high from November 2010 stands at $20.24 as the weekly Starc+ band was being tested (see circle).

  • The two-year downtrend in relative performance (line g) has been broken, but the RS line has not yet started a new uptrend.

  • The weekly OBV has also broken its downtrend (line h), but needs to overcome the resistance (line i) to confirm its bottom.

  • There is first good support now in the $17.50 area, with more important levels at $16.60 to $17.

NEXT: Tom's Verdict on 2 More Hot Country ETFs


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The iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU) is up 5.7% this month, but it has been weaker than the Vanguard MSCI Europe ETF (VGK), which is up 7.1%. Both have nice yields at 3.7% and 4.2% respectively.

  • EWU is just testing the upper boundary (line a) of the trading range that goes back to October 2011.

  • The relative performance is back above its WMA, but is well below the major downtrend (line c) but has not confirmed that a low is in place.

  • The OBV is acting weaker than prices, as it is well below the highs from early this year, and is just barely above its WMA.

  • There is key OBV support at line d.

  • The weekly chart has a band of good support in the $16.80 to $17.40 area.

The iShares MSCI Mexico ETF (EWW) closed last week above the 21-month resistance at $64.56 (line e). It is up 6.8% for the month, and is the second best performer for the year, up 21.9%.

  • The relative performance is above its WMA but has not confirmed the price action, as it is well below the key resistance (line g).

  • The weekly OBV made new highs in July and shows a pattern of higher highs (line h).

  • The OBV is just barely above its WMA, but well above the longer-term support (line i).

  • There is a band of weekly support in the $62 to $63.60 area, with more important levels at $60.17 and the July lows.

What it Means: While most of the ETFs have done better than SPY so far this month, only three have outperformed SPY for 2012. In addition to EWW, the iShares MSCI Singapore ETF (EWS) is the best performer, up 26%. (I last analyzed both ETFs in July.) The iShares MSCI Hong Kong ETF (EWH) is up just over 18%, which is a bit better than SPY.

All four of the country ETFs look overextended on a short-term basis, and given the weak seasonal Dow pattern in September look ready for a decent correction. It may come from higher levels.

Of the four, the iShares MSCI Mexico ETF (EWW) looks the most interesting. Its daily RS and OBV analysis do look more positive than the weekly. I will be looking at multiple time frame RS analysis to help find an entry price

How to Profit: No new recommendation.

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