Russia ETF: Live There? Nope. Invest? Maybe.
Did you know that you can find Russia ETF options around energy, finance, consumer and technology sectors? This is not something that a lot of investors realize and most would pigeonhole the Russia ETF opportunities into only one or two of those categories.
With all of these choices, it might be difficult to know which to choose, but that is actually a much simpler issue than you might realize. One approach is consider what's already in your portfolio and then to look for ways to fill gaps. Are you looking for overall exposure to Russia? Or are you looking to benefit from Russia's vast natural resources and its hold on a significant portion of the global market share particularly in the energy industry? I would use such requirements to whittle down the list of ETFs to a small set that can then be examined in more detail.
Another option is to gain exposure to Russia with an ETF that focuses on the broader region. For example, Russia is part of a group of countries denoted by the acronym BRIC which stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Buying into a BRIC ETF could kill two birds with one stone by giving you some Russian holdings as well as holdings in other countries.
Modernization is a hot topic in the Russian economy, and it is now possible to buy into a diversity of funds in which technologies previously non-existent in the country are making a strong appearance. For instance, SPDR S&P Russia ETF (RBL) has around 20% committed to technologies, while the Market Vectors Russia (RSX) leans heavily on oil and gas instead.
For broad coverage, investors should consider the iShares MSCI Capped Russia Index Fund (ERUS) which tracks the MSCI Russia 25/50 Index which is basically the Russian version of the S&P 500.