Anyone that stayed awake to watch the bloodbath that was Thursday's Asian session, or those that became aware of that sea of red Thursday morning U.S. time, probably thought today was going to be a dreadful day for U.S. stocks.
With Asia looking so dismal, it was not unreasonable to expect it was going to be another dreadful day for the relevant U.S.-listed ETFs tracking both Asia's developed and emerging economies. Well, what folks expected to happen did not and that is a good thing. Look at these three pleasant ETF surprises from Thursday's U.S. session.
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WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSE:DXJ) No, this is not a misprint: The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund gained 0.8 percent Thursday on double the average daily volume a day after the Nikkei 225 plunged 6.35 percent. Not to be excluded from the fun, the rival iShares MSCI Japan Index Fund (NYSE:EWJ) climbed almost 2.4 percent on strong volume.
And do not forget about the iShares S&P/Topix 150 Index Fund (NYSE:ITF). That unheralded ETF gained 2.2 percent a day after Japan's Topix, which the ETF tracks, lost almost 4.8 percent.
WisdomTree Asia Local Debt Fund (NYSE:ALD) Two things: First, Thursday was a nice day for some beaten down corners of the ETF world, but let's not get too carried away about just one day. Second, it does bear remembering that credit markets lead equities.
So if Asian stocks fell and the yen spiked overnight, then who would want to embrace the allegedly toxic combination of emerging markets debt denominated in local Asian currencies? Someone did with the actively managed WisdomTree Asia Local Debt Fund on Thursday as the ETF rose 1.4 percent on above average volume.
Again, it was just one day, but ALD's performance is noteworthy because it holds bonds denominated in the currencies of the following countries: South Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, India, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. Have fun finding an attractive currency in that group.
iShares Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE:THD) Falling baht. Thai stocks down 2.1 percent last night. Not enough to hold THD back on Thursday as the ETF popped 2.8 percent on heavy volume. THD is in the midst of a multi-week decline that tops those seen after after natural disasters and political protests. If there is good news it is that all of THD's previous nasty pullbacks have been followed by lengthy runs higher.
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