By Stoyan Bojinov
(ETF Database) Investors have been gradually increasing their risk appetite since the start of 2012 thanks to improving economic data and renewed optimism in the global recovery. Likewise, emerging markets are off to a strong start this year and one particular country-specific ETF has attracted serious interest from investors. The iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (TUR) is up an impressive 20% year-to-date, and even more impressive are the recent trading volumes over the past few days.
This ETF, which offers exposure to Turkish equity markets, has a three-month average daily volume of around 290,000 shares. The noteworthy observation is that daily trading volumes in TUR have seen an exponential increase since two weeks ago. On February 29, daily trading volumes topped 1 million shares, and the ETF traded over 1 million shares the next two trading days as well.
Trading volumes at the start of last week came in at just under 1 million, showcasing the sheer interest in this ETF from traders and investors alike. Volume dropped off in mid-week, but perked up again on Friday above its three-month average.
It's worth noting that the surge in trading volumes happened when TUR was above the $50 mark--this is significant because this price level was previously major resistance for TUR since the start of August in 2011. Given the positive price action in this ETF since the start of the year, coupled with notable trading volumes above its previous resistance level, some investors may interpret this as a bullish observation going forward.
The Appeal Of Turkey
Growing interest in Turkey's economy stems from several fundamental reasons. First and foremost, this nation is dominated by service industries, which separates it from many other emerging markets which tend to be heavily dependent on the production and export of commodities. Turkey is also home a growing middle class and is a center of international trade which connects Europe with the Middle East and North Africa [see Emerging Market ETF Investing: Beyond The BRIC].
TUR offer investors access to this emerging market through a basket of about 100 securities. This ETF has accumulated $433 million in assets under management since launching in March of 2008. Investors should note that TUR's portfolio is a bit top-heavy in that the top ten holdings account for just under two-thirds of total assets. From a sector breakdown perspective financials equities dominate the underlying portfolio, followed by consumer staples and telecommunication services. TUR offers investors a fairly equal blend of large- and mid-cap stocks, giving this ETF a unique risk/return profile since most foreign equity funds are tilted towards giant cap size companies.
Stoyan Bojinov is a writer at ETFdb. ETFdb offers a comprehensive and original ETF database and analytical consulting services for advisors and investors, as well as a free newsletter. Learn more about their services by visiting ETFdb.com. Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.