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Female Heads of State and ETF Returns: A 2012 Review

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In 2012, at least 13 women occupied presidencies or premierships across the globe.

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Many of EWZ's woes could be pinned on Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), the ETF's largest holding. Petrobras is Brazil's state-run oil producer and the government is the company's largest shareholder, meaning Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff often endures criticism for that stock's slump. In fairness to her, Petrobras was problematic before she took office.

Despite low interest rates and a variety of stimulus efforts, Brazil's economy is projected to grow at a rate below 2% this year. Economists are forecasting growth of just 3% next year.

In the US, a slack economy would put a sitting president in danger of not winning reelection. At the very least, it would lead to some poor approval ratings. Rousseff has defied those odds. Her approval has actually jumped slightly in the past 90 days and currently rests at an amazing 78%, according to Reuters.

iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEARCA:THD): South Korea's Park will not be the only woman to be an Asian nation's top elected official. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is one of the others and when it comes to economic and equity performance, it appears that she is doing a fine job.

On Wednesday, the World Bank boosted its growth forecast for Thailand's 2012 GDP growth to 4.7% from 4.5% while forecasting 2013 growth of 5%. Amid contracting eurozone economies, a prime destination for Thai exports, Thailand's economy has proven resilient and inflation is tame at 3%.

Economists and political pundits can debate how much credit Shinawatra deserves, but there is no debating the fact that the iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund has surged 34.4% this year.

Below, find some more great ETF and market content from Benzinga:

The Diamond Engagement Ring: Necessary Expense Or High Value Investment?

Bill Ackman Lays Out Herbalife Short Case

Apple to Ship 12 Million iPad Mini Units Before 2013


Twitter: @Benzinga

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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