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Portfolio > ETFs

Korean Funds Stabilize After Tense Week

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Markets in Asia stabilized Monday after tensions in the Koreas drove the Seoul Composite Index, or KOSPI, down 2.3% over the past week.

The Seoul Composite declined just 0.33% on Monday to close at 1,895.54. Year to date, the index is up at 14% vs. roughly 7% for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.86% Monday to end the day near 10,126. It was flat over the past five trading days.

South Korea's military said it was postponing new artillery drills on the front-line island that was shelled last week by North Korea, according to an Associated Press report.

Korea’s currency, the won, rose 0.6% to 1,152.46 won per dollar on Monday, after dropping as much as 0.4% percent, Bloomberg reported.

South Korean ETFs

ETFs that track the South Korean economy, such as the iShares MSCI South Korea Index Fund (EWY) fell last Tuesday, when news of the shelling got out.

The iShares ETF was trading up 0.02% mid-day on Monday at 53.52. It declined about 5% over the past five days and is down roughly 1.5% for the past month.

Year to date, though, it is up 12.5%. Samsung Electronics, steelmaker Posco and Hyundai Motor are some of its top holdings.

The IQ South Korea Small Cap ETF (SKOR) was down 0.75% at 26.32 on Monday.

It dropped about 10% over the past five days, but is up roughly 25% in the last six months vs. 22.5% for EWY and 10% for the Dow.

The PowerShares FTSE RAFI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan Portfolio (PAF), which is about 35% invested in South Korea, was tradining down 0.10% on Monday at 51.03.

It declined 3.5% in the past five days, though it is up 10% year to date and 22.5% in the last six months.

Korea Funds

The Matthews Korea Investor (MAKOX) declined 3% Friday. The fund, with top holdings such as Shinhan Financial, Lg Chemical, Hyundai and Kiwoom Securities, is up 11% year to date and 18% for the past six months.

Among the closed-end funds trading with a Korea focus is the Korea Equity Fund offered by Nomura Asset Management. It traded up slightly on Monday after declining 5% over the last week. It is up 30% in the past six months. 


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