While emerging-market stocks were one of the strongest equity performers in 2017, they have collapsed this year. The MSCI emerging-markets index fell into-bear market territory last week, dropping 20 percent from a recent peak. The Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF lost 3.3 percent last week, its worst week since March. Year-to-date, it is down 11.5 percent.
Meanwhile the S&P 500 has gained 7.7 percent this year. According to Bespoke Investment Group, the divergence between emerging markets and the U.S. stands at a 14-year high.
There are a number of issues facing emerging economies, including a recession in South Africa, Turkey’s high levels of debt and inflation, political uncertainty in Brazil, and Argentina’s central bank raising interest rates to 60 percent in the face of a currency crisis. Additionally, the category has been pressured by a rising U.S. dollar—a headwind for many emerging markets.