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    Investment directions august 2012 iShares Investment directions august 2012 iShares Document Transcript

    • Investment Directions Monthly Market Outlook August 15, 2012
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 2 ] Macroeconomic Overview TABLE OF CONTENTS While central bankers appeared unable or unwilling to enact additional measures to ease monetary policy, the global economic slowdown dragged on. Equity markets eked out a modest 1.37% in July and closed the year-to-date period up 7.10%. US Treasury rates hit Global Regions...................................4 their lowest on record, and unemployment across the globe continued to soften. Global Sectors...................................6 Although some economies did buck the trend, overall the global economy seems to be slowing its pace of growth. However, we still believe there’s a 60% chance that the global Fixed Income Sectors.......................7 economy will experience slow growth and avoid a recession in 2012. The United States no longer appears immune to this broader economic slowdown, with many investors continuing to question whether another recession is on the horizon. Uncertainty over Europe and the deceleration in China haven’t helped the US recovery either. Still, global equity markets gained 2.32% in August through August 10.* What’s New:   In our opinion, the most likely outcome for the global economy for the remainder of the •  owngrade of Global D year continues to be slow, but positive, growth. Europe still represents the Achilles’ heel for financial markets. While Europe is struggling, its economic leaders appear incapable Telecommunications of coming up with solutions to stem the slowdown of growth and the growing debt to Neutral problems that many European countries face. The ongoing crisis in Europe is also hurting both US manufacturing and Chinese exports. •  owngrade of Indonesia D   Meanwhile, though growth appears to be slowing in the United States, we still believe to Neutral the country will avoid a recession in 2012. That said, if US policy makers don’t avert the United States’ pending fiscal drag, recession fears will become justified.   We expect market volatility to rise in the fall as the event risks surrounding Europe and the US fiscal cliff intensify. While we expect stocks can move higher in 2012 and we Risk Appetite Dial continue to hold an overweight long-term view of global equities, especially relative to bonds, the road ahead for equities is still likely to be rocky. –0.6   As such, we continue to favor investments that potentially offer some downside protection while still potentially producing a reasonable yield and allowing for participation in market gains. We like high-quality, international dividend-paying stocks; last month global mega capitalization (mega cap) stocks; and US and international minimum volatility funds. We also prefer to get equity exposure through select developed and Low High emerging markets that have robust growth prospects and fewer debt and banking–3 +3 sector problems. Within fixed income, we like US spread products such as investmentOur global market risk appetite measure grade and municipal bonds.accounts for ongoing shifts in investor *Global equity market performance data is based on the performance of the MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index).sentiment around the macro fundamen­tals that form the basis for our near- Figure 1: Longer-Term Global Asset Allocationterm investment views. Please see theappendix for an explanation of our riskappetite measure methodology Underweight Neutral Overweight Global Equities nOur risk appetite measure recovered Treasury Bonds nmoderately from last month on signs ofstabilization in global equity markets Corporate Bonds nand a slight improvement in US growth Municipals nexpectations. Still, credit spreads be-tween low-quality and high-quality US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities ncorporate debt remain elevated. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation regarding the iShares Funds or any security in particular. This information is strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and is subject to change.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 3 ]Figure 2: iShares Investment Strategy Group Near-Term Outlooks Global Region Underweight Neutral Overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers Developed Markets Global Equities x ACWI, HDV, IOO, OEF, IDV, URTH, ACWV Developed Markets x EFA, IDV, ACWX, EFAV, SCZ Australia x EWA, EPP, EWAS, DVYA Canada x EWC, EWCS France x EWQ Germany x EWG, EWGS Hong Kong x EWH, EWHS Italy x EWI Japan x EWJ, SCJ Netherlands x EWN Norway x ENOR Singapore x EWS, EWSS Spain x EWP Sweden x EWD Switzerland x EWL United Kingdom x EWU, EWUS United States x EUSA, IWV, IVV, USMV Emerging Markets Emerging Markets x EEM, EEMV, DVYE, EEMS Brazil x EWZ, EWZS China x MCHI, ECNS India x INDY, INDA, SMIN Indonesia x EIDO Mexico x EWW Russia x ERUS South Africa x EZA South Korea x EWY Taiwan x EWT Global Sector Underweight Neutral Overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers Consumer Discretionary x Consumer Staples x IYK, KXI, AXSL Energy x IXC, FILL, EMEY, AXEN European Banks x EUFN Financials x IYF, IXG, AXFN, EMFN, EUFN, FEFN, IAT Healthcare x IYH, IXJ, AXHE Industrials x IYJ, EXI, AXID Information Technology x IXN, AXIT, AAIT, IYW, SOXX Materials x IYM, MXI, AXMT, EMMT, RING, PICK, SLVP REITs x ICF, IYR Telecommunications x IXP, AXTE, IYZ US Industrials x IYJ US Regional Banks x IAT US Retail x N/A US Technology x IYW US Utilities x IDU Utilities x IDV, JXI, AXUT Fixed Income Sector Underweight Neutral Overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers Emerging Markets x EMB, LEMB, CEMB, EMHY High Yield Credit x HYG, HYXU, GHYG, QLTB, QLTC LQD, FLOT, QLTA, MONY, ENGN, AMPS, CSJ, Investment Grade Credit x CIU, CFT, CLY, QLTA Mortgage-Backed Securities x MBB, GNMA, CMBS Municipals x SUB, MUB Non-US Developed Markets x ISHG, IGOV TIPS/Global Inflation-Linked x STIP, TIP, GTIP, ITIP US Treasuries x SHY, IEI, IEF, TLH, TLT, GOVT, SHV Global Style Underweight Neutral Overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers Global Mega Caps x OEF, IOO, HDV, DVY, IDV Small Caps x IWMThis material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. This informationshould not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation regarding the iShares Funds or any security in particular. This information is strictly forillustrative and educational purposes and is subject to change. This information does not represent the actual current, past or future holdings or portfolio of any BlackRock client.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 4 ]Global RegionsWe have downgraded our view of Indonesia to neutral from a banking system is still vulnerable to a run. Whether through aprevious overweight (see below for discussion). All our other resumption of its Securities Market Program or through grantingcountry outlooks remain the same. a banking license to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), there is still much the ECB can do to lower European borrowingDeveloped Markets: In the developed world, we still expect certain costs. Several structural issues remain unresolved including whosmaller developed countries—Canada, Australia, Singapore, will serve as the single regulator of the European banking system,Switzerland and Hong Kong (the CASSH countries)—to outperform how European sovereign debt will be pooled, whether there will beother developed markets over the long term given their generally a Europe-wide deposit insurance scheme and how Europe will belower debt levels and more robust growth prospects. In the near lifted out of a recession. That said, we continue to believe aterm, among developed markets, we especially like Hong Kong, worsening eurozone crisis can be avoided if European politiciansGermany and certain countries in northern Europe such as Norway. aggressively address their region’s problems. Investors will be There have been some tentative signs of progress in Europe,  closely watching the ECB governing council’s decision on market culminating most recently in European Central Bank (ECB) stabilization measures in early September, as well as the German President Mario Draghi’s promise to do “whatever it takes” to save constitutional court ruling on the European bailout fund. A the euro. However, execution risks remain, with many details still continuation of the more hopeful investor sentiment that began in to be worked out. To qualify for bond purchases Spain and Italy late June with the European leaders’ summit could result in the will need to formally request assistance. In addition, the European rally extending further.Figure 3: Global Region Near-Term Outlooks and the Factors Behind Them* Global Region Valuations Growth Profitability Risk/ Our View Related iShares Developed Markets (P/B) Sentiment Underweight  Neutral  Overweight ETF Tickers EWA, EPP, Australia + + EWAS, DVYA Canada – – + EWC, EWCS France + – – – EWQ Germany – + EWG, EWGS Hong Kong + + EWH, EWHS Italy + – – – EWI Japan + + – EWJ, SCJ Netherlands + – EWN Singapore – EWS, EWSS Spain + – – – EWP Sweden – + + + EWD Switzerland – + EWL United Kingdom – – + EWU, EWUS EUSA, IWV, IVV, United States – + + + USMV Emerging Markets Brazil + – – EWZ, EWZS China + + MCHI, ECNS INDY, INDA, India – + SMIN Indonesia – + + EIDO Mexico – + – EWW Russia + + – ERUS South Africa – + + – EZA South Korea EWY Taiwan – + EWT – unattractive + attractive neutral current underweight outlook current overweight outlook current neutral outlook previous month (if not shown – same as current)* Please see appendix for an explanation of our factor methodology. ** Due to a confluence of factors, country views may be in the same spot on the chart though the countries’ outlooks aredifferent. Please see Figure 2 for official outlooks. ***Norway is not included in this table due to its size.This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. This informationshould not be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation regarding the iShares Funds or any security in particular. This information is strictly for illustrativeand educational purposes and is subject to change. This information does not represent the actual current, past or future holdings or portfolio of any BlackRock client.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 5 ] Investors are wondering whether they should stick with German  Figure 4: Valuations and Market Returns–Price/Book assets. For now, we think the answer is yes on German stocks, 2.5 because in our view the most likely scenario is that the euro 2.2 2.3 2.2 2.1 survives after a prolonged and costly transition toward fiscal 2.0 2.0 1.9 union. While this process will be painful for both German stocks 1.7 and bonds, as lower growth will hurt stocks and mutualizing the 1.6 1.5 1.4 debt of other countries will hurt bonds, we believe that German 1.5 1.3 1.4 stock prices already reflect this pain while bonds don’t. 1.0  continue to hold a neutral view of US equities, which no longer We look cheap on a relative valuation basis. After a string of weak payroll reports, the United States finally had good news on 0.5 employment with July payrolls adding 163,000 new jobs, although these numbers aren’t nearly enough to indicate a trend. Contin- 0.0 Current month 3 months ago 1 year ago 3 years ago ued low numbers on productivity and new industrial orders, and rising oil prices all indicate we are likely to remain in a slow MSCI US MSCI Emerging growth mode of around 2% for the foreseeable future. However, Equity Index MSCI EAFE Index Markets Index we still believe that the United States will not see a recession in 2012. US politicians still have the pending tax hikes and spending Sources: MSCI, FactSet, as of 7/31/12. cuts scheduled to take effect in January 2013 that could pose a headwind to the US market later this year, as well as significantly lower US growth in 2013, which could push the US economy back into a recession. That said, in our view the most likely outcome is a Figure 5: Valuations and Market Returns–Price/Earnings last-minute compromise to avert most or all of the tax hikes, 20.9 assuming we don’t see a bitter and divisive election in November 20 that would make it more difficult to avoid the pending fiscal drag. 18.0  continue to hold an underweight view of UK equities. UK We 16.0 15.2 14.9 14.6 valuations appear a bit rich for an environment characterized by 15 13.8 13.7 13.1 disappointing growth, due to both weak demand and continued 12.6 11.9 11.5 fiscal consolidation. However, softening inflation could allow the Bank of England to increase its stimulus measures in the back 10 half of the year. Within developed Asia, we continue to hold a neutral view of  Japan. While Japanese equities still appear cheap, corporate 5 profitability in the country is very low in an international context. In addition, Japan’s relatively robust growth has been supported by the government’s reconstruction spending and will need a 0 pickup in exports to continue. Current month 3 months ago 1 year ago 3 years agoEmerging Markets: We continue to advocate overweighting select MSCI US MSCI Emergingemerging market countries relative to their respective weights in the Equity Index MSCI EAFE Index Markets IndexMSCI ACWI benchmark and overweighting emerging markets relative Sources: MSCI, FactSet, as of 7/31/12.to developed markets. Emerging markets are generally experiencing alonger-term trend toward less volatility and have the potential to offerstronger growth prospects than many developed markets. In addition, Asia, we cut our overweight view on Indonesia to neutral in earlyfalling inflation in most emerging market countries has yet to August. After outperforming other emerging Asian countries overtranslate into multiple expansions, and valuations remain compelling. the summer, Indonesian stocks became relatively more expensive.In general, we prefer Brazil in Latin America, and China in emerging Additionally, the Indonesian government recently adopted a lessAsia at the expense of emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa market-friendly stance on a number of policy issues.(EMEA). We also prefer gaining emerging market exposure through Elsewhere in Asia, we continue to hold an overweight view of China.  high-dividend funds for their generally more defensive nature. While data about the Chinese economy has been mixed, more Within Latin America, we continue to hold an underweight view of  forward-looking economic indicators still suggest that China can Mexico, as strong year-to-date return performance has turned engineer a soft landing. In our view, China has both the motivation and the market’s valuations comparatively rich. Instead we prefer ability to maintain growth at a respectable rate, as illustrated by Brazil, where we think slowing growth has already been priced in. recent rate cuts, as the country readies itself for a leadership  like emerging Asian countries thanks to their robust growth We transition later this year. As such, we expect that China’s growth will prospects and relatively attractive valuations. Within emerging settle at around 8%, in which case China’s stock market looks cheap.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 6 ]Global SectorsWhile the market finished higher in July, cyclical and defensive related to unforeseen adverse geopolitical developments couldsector performance was mixed. Telecommunications was once further support energy prices. For investors looking for income,again the top performing sector, followed by energy and global energy stocks in aggregate have also offered a healthyconsumer staples. Utilities and materials performed the worst. dividend yield.This month, we have downgraded global telecom to a neutral  While we continue to hold a neutral view of global utilities, westance, but have maintained our other sector outlooks. hold an underweight view of US utilities. In our view, investors in As we expect markets to remain volatile in 2012, we continue to their quest for yield and relative safety have pushed the price of generally prefer more defensive global sectors to cyclical ones, US utility stocks to a point where they are now too expensive. We and we like sectors with more mega cap exposure or an attrac- still believe in dividend-paying stocks, but in our view there are tive income stream. sectors with more compelling valuations and higher profitability. We downgraded our overweight view on global telecommunica-  We continue to hold a neutral view of global and US technology tions to neutral in early August. Our original thesis was that the stocks. While the technology sector still looks interesting over the sector offered a compelling yield and the sector’s defensive longer term, current valuations appear rich relative to other cyclical characteristics meant that it was likely to hold up relatively well sectors. In addition, technology stocks tend to be more sensitive to during periods of economic uncertainty. Since then, global market volatility than stocks in more defensive sectors. telecom stocks have outpaced the S&P Global 1200 Index,  Our least preferred sectors are still global consumer discretion- resulting in rich valuations. ary, financials and US retail. We continue to hold an underweight Within cyclicals, we continue to advocate an overweight alloca- view of the global financials sector as it’s likely to remain under tion to global energy stocks. We expect crude prices to benefit in pressure due to uncertainty regarding the eurozone crisis, the long term as marginal supply is increasingly coming from regulatory changes and earnings. That said, if investor appetite unconventional higher cost sources, many large oil producing for risk rebounds, beaten down European financials would be countries require a high crude price to balance their budgets, likely to benefit. And in our view, US consumer discretionary OPEC has very little spare capacity, and global oil demand is stocks continue to look very expensive in an economy character- likely to greatly outstrip supply by 2030. Any supply disruptions ized by no real wage growth and slow job creation.* Sector performance information is based on the performance of the S&P Global 1200 indices.Figure 6: Global Sector Near-Term Outlooks and the Factors Behind Them* Global Sector Valuations Profitability Risk/ Our View (P/B) Sentiment underweight neutral overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers Cyclical Sectors Consumer Discretionary – Energy + IXC, FILL, EMEY, AXEN IYF, IXG, AXFN, EMFN, EUFN, Financials** + – – FEFN, IAT Industrials** IYJ, EXI, AXID Information Technology – + + IXN, AXIT, AAIT, IYW, SOXX IYM, MXI, AXMT, EMMT, RING, Materials + – PICK, SLVP Defensive Sectors Consumer Staples – + IYK, KXI, AXSL Healthcare – + + IYH, IXJ, AXHE Telecommunications – IXP, AXTE, IYZ Utilities** + – IDV, JXI, AXUT – unattractive + attractive neutral current underweight outlook current overweight outlook current neutral outlook previous month (if not shown – same as current)* Please see appendix for an explanation of our factor methodology. ** This chart focuses on global sector views only. For US sector views, please see Figure 2.This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. This information shouldnot be relied upon by the reader as research, investment advice or a recommendation regarding the iShares Funds or any security in particular. This information is strictly for illustrative andeducational purposes and is subject to change. This information does not represent the actual current, past or future holdings or portfolio of any BlackRock client.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 7 ]Fixed Income SectorsFigure 7: Fixed Income Sector Near-Term Outlooks Fixed Income Sector Underweight Neutral Overweight Related iShares ETF Tickers EMB, LEMB, CEMB,Emerging Markets x EMHY HYG, HYXU, GHYG,High Yield Credit x QLTB, QLTC LQD, FLOT, QLTA, MONY,Investment Grade Credit x ENGN, AMPS, CSJ, CIU, CFT, CLY, QLTAMortgage-Backed Securities x MBB, GNMA, CMBSMunicipals x SUB, MUBNon-US Developed Markets x ISHG, IGOVTIPS/Global Inflation-Linked x STIP, TIP, GTIP, ITIP SHY, IEI, IEF, TLH, TLT,US Treasuries x GOVT, SHVThis material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast offuture events or a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research, investmentadvice or a recommendation regarding the iShares Funds or any security in particular. This information is strictly for illustrativeand educational purposes and is subject to change. This information does not represent the actual current, past or futureholdings or portfolio of any BlackRock client.US Treasuries of all maturities reached record low yields during  As we still believe that high yield bonds are close to fair value, weJuly, but gained back some of those yields late in the month as continue to advocate that investors generally maintain a bench-concerns escalated over Europe. After starting the month at mark weight. That said, we believe investors should consider1.64%, the 10-year Treasury ended July at 1.47%. After a poor ISM being more aggressive buyers in three instances: if spreadsmanufacturing report early in the month, the Treasury market widen, if they have portfolios with high income needs and if theycame under severe pressure toward the end of the month are worried about rising rates.following ECB President Draghi’s speech saying he would do  We continue to hold an underweight long-term and a neutral“whatever it takes” to defend the euro and yields rose from 1.39% near-term view of Treasuries, which currently offer little moreto a high of 1.59% between July 26 and 27. However, there contin- than cash in the way of yield and record-low coupons mean thatued to be buyers on dips and that, coupled with month-end buying duration risk is at a record high. In addition, even a small backupand fund rebalancing, helped retrace over half the sell-off. Looking in Treasury yields would lead to significant losses.forward, we have maintained all of our outlooks this month.  We remain cautious on TIPS over the long term in light of negative We continue to advocate reducing duration risk—for which we real rates, and are neutral in the near term. believe investors are not currently being adequately compensat-  We continue to advocate a benchmark weight to mortgage- ed—and modestly adding exposure to spread products. backed securities as they appear to be fairly priced given prepay- We continue to prefer municipals and investment grade credit ment and extension risk. In addition, we believe the potential for over other fixed income sectors. Both of these asset classes have further upside appreciation is limited by two factors: ambiguity outperformed broader fixed income benchmarks lately and offer over further quantitative easing efforts and prepayment uncer- attractive yields relative to US Treasuries. In addition, current tainty resulting from lower rates and from the potential for new investment grade and municipal bond spread levels continue to policy tools to finally unfreeze the refinancing market. look elevated relative to credit risk unless you believe the United  Outside of the United States, we continue to see opportunities in States will experience another recession. Meanwhile, despite emerging market bonds, which we believe investors should isolated local bankruptcy headlines, credit risks in the high grade consider including at a benchmark weight. Emerging market debt municipal space are modest. There are few signs that Washington is offering attractive yields relative to the US Treasury market, is seriously contemplating any change in the tax-exempt status of and spread widening in this sector may allow for additional municipals and potential increases in investment income tax opportunistic positioning. rates would make municipal valuations more attractive.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 8 ]ContributorsRuss Koesterich, CFA, is the Global Chief Investment Strategist for BlackRock’s iShares ETF business. He is a founding memberof the BlackRock Investment Institute, delivering BlackRock’s insights on global investment issues. During his 20+ year careeras an investment researcher and strategist, Mr. Koesterich has served as the Global Head of Investment Strategy for scientificactive equities and as a senior portfolio manager in the US Market Neutral Group at BlackRock. Mr. Koesterich is a frequentcontributor to financial news media and can regularly be seen on CNBC, Fox Business News and Bloomberg TV. He is the authorof two books, including his most recent, The Ten Trillion Dollar Gamble, which details how to position portfolios for the impact ofthe growing U.S. deficit. Mr. Koesterich is also regularly quoted in print media including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today,MSNBC.com, and MarketWatch. He earned a BA degree in history from Brandeis University, a JD from Boston College and anMBA in capital markets from Columbia University.Nelli Oster, PhD, is an Investment Strategist in BlackRock’s iShares business, where her responsibilities include developingtactical country, sector, commodity and asset allocation models implementable with iShares ETFs. Dr. Oster’s service with thefirm dates back to 2008, including her time with Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which merged with BlackRock in 2009. Beforejoining iShares, Dr. Oster did research and portfolio management in BGI’s quantitative stock selection business, spanning US,Canada, Japan and emerging markets portfolios. Prior to joining BGI, Dr. Oster was an equity research analyst at GoldmanSachs, and she started her career in the mergers and acquisitions group of Salomon Smith Barney. Dr. Oster holds a BSc(Hons) in management sciences from the London School of Economics and a PhD in finance from the Stanford GraduateSchool of Business, where her Behavioral Finance dissertation focused on expectations formation and learning in thefinancial markets.Matthew Tucker, CFA, has spent the past 16 years focused on fixed income portfolio management, analytics and strategy.As Head of North American Fixed Income iShares Strategy within BlackRock’s Fixed Income Portfolio Management team,Mr. Tucker leads the investment strategy for fixed income ETFs in North America and Latin America, focusing on productdevelopment, client support, and thought leadership. He previously worked with Barclays Global Investors before it mergedwith BlackRock, and he led the US Fixed Income Investment Solutions team responsible for overseeing product strategy foractive, index, enhanced index, iShares and long/short products. Mr. Tucker was also a portfolio manager and a trader in fixedincome focused on U.S. government securities. He began his career at Barra, where he supported clients using the company’sfixed income analytics. He holds a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of California, Berkeley, andis a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder.Stephen Laipply is a member of BlackRock’s Model-Based Fixed Income Portfolio Management Group. Mr. Laipply’s servicewith the firm dates back to 2009, including his years with Barclays Global Investors (BGI), which merged with BlackRock in 2009.At BGI, he was a senior investment strategist on the US Fixed Income Investment Solutions team, responsible for developing anddelivering fixed income solutions to clients. Mr. Laipply focuses primarily on the iShares (ETF) fixed income product suite. Prior tojoining BGI, he was a senior member in both the Strategic Solutions and Interest Rate Structuring Groups at Bank of AmericaMerrill Lynch, where he structured and marketed fixed income solutions across interest rates, credit and mortgages to institu-tional investors. Mr. Laipply earned a BS degree, with honors, in finance from Miami University, and an MBA in finance from theUniversity of Pennsylvania. How do you use this market commentary and do you find it useful? Please share your feedback and any questions or concerns you have at questions@iShares.com. You also can find the latest market commentary from the iShares Investment Strategy Group at iSharesblog.com and iShares.com.
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 9 ]AppendixThe analysis behind our views: Growth prospects: We focus on leading indicators that areOur country and sector views are based on a systematic analysis constructed to predict a country’s future economic growth. Weof the extent to which macroeconomic factors have been priced in assign a “+” to countries that are expected to grow fast relative toat the country and sector level. their own past trends and to other countries, and a “-” to coun- tries that are growing more slowly.In coming up with our country views, we use price-to-book (P/B)ratio as a measure of a country’s value. This ratio captures how the Corporate sector profitability: We focus on return on assets (ROA)market prices a given country relative to the assets it has available and on cross-country comparisons, although we also take intofor production. The higher the ratio, the more favorably the market account developments in a country’s ROA over time. A country withviews the country relative to its own history and to other countries. a highly profitable corporate sector is assigned a “+”; one with low profitability is assigned a “-.”The price the market is willing to pay for the assets of a country ispositively related to its expected future growth and corporate Risk / sentiment: We focus on sovereign credit default swap (CDS)sector profitability, and negatively related to the riskiness of its spreads, which measure investor perception of the likelihood thatassets. We use factors such as leading economic indicators and a given country will default on its obligations. We mainly compareretail sales growth as proxies for expected future growth. We use CDS spreads across countries, although we also take into accountreturn on assets (ROA) as a proxy for future profitability and we use trends in a country’s CDS spreads over time. A country that iscredit default swap (CDS) spreads as a measure of risk and perceived as relatively safe is assigned a “+”; a risky country issentiment. In addition, we consider factors such as commodity assigned a “-.”prices that affect importer and exporter countries in opposite ways. While the valuation, growth, profitability and risk / sentimentIn determining the sensitivity of a country’s valuations to these factor readings are discrete, we use continuous measures in ourmacroeconomic factors, we look at trends both over time and investment process. In addition, the factors are not equallyacross countries. We are overweight (underweight) countries important in driving returns at a given point in time. As a result,where market valuations are low (high) relative to what we would when it comes to formulating our final views, the various factorexpect, with the expectation that the economic factors will be fully readings are not additive. For example, a “+” value factor, indicat-incorporated into prices in the future. We use a similar process for ing that a country looks cheap, may overshadow negative readingscoming up with our sector views. in other factors, leading us to still like the country.Factor table methodology We use a similar methodology in coming up with the readings inHere’s an explanation of the methodology of our country our sector factor table. We focus on a mix of cross-sectional andfactor table: time-series comparisons of valuations (P/B), profitability (ROE) and risk / sentiment (sector spreads). In addition, we consider theValuations: In determining whether a country looks cheap or global growth outlook for cyclical and defensive sectors.expensive, we focus on price-to-book ratio (P/B), both over timeand across countries. If a country has a low P/B relative to both Risk appetite dial methodologyits own trading history and to other countries, we assign it a “+”; if Our global risk appetite dial measures current market sentiment.it has a high P/B, we assign it a “-.” We mainly compare developed It is constructed from equity market returns, corporate creditmarket countries to other developed market countries and spreads and expectations for future economic growth. High equityemerging market countries to other emerging market countries. returns, narrow credit spreads and a good growth outlook tend toWe compare countries that benefit or suffer from their own coincide with positive investor sentiment and stronger appetite forspecific issues, e.g., corporate governance problems in Russia, to risky assets.their own trading histories.GlossaryUnderweight: Potentially decrease allocation Overweight: Potentially increase allocation Neutral: Consider benchmark allocationLong Term: Longer than one year Near Term: 12 months or less
    • INVESTMENT DIRECTIONS [ 10 ]Carefully consider the iShares Funds’ investment objectives, risk factors, Statement (“PDS”) or prospectus for each iShares ETF that is offered in Australia is available atand charges and expenses before investing. This and other information iShares.com.au. You should read the PDS or prospectus and consider whether an iShares ETFcan be found in the Funds’ prospectuses, which may be obtained by calling is appropriate for you before deciding to invest.1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737) or by visiting www.iShares.com. Read the iShares securities trade on ASX at market price (not, net asset value (“NAV”)). iSharesprospectuses carefully before investing. securities may only be redeemed directly by persons called “Authorised Participants.”Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. The iShares Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, issued, sold or promoted by Dow JonesIn addition to the normal risks associated with investing, international investments may involve Trademark Holdings, LLC, JPMorgan Chase & Co., MSCI Inc. Markit Indices Limited, orrisk of capital loss from unfavorable fluctuation in currency values, from differences in generally Standard & Poor’s, nor are they sponsored, endorsed or issued by Barclays Capital Inc. None ofaccepted accounting principles or from economic or political instability in other nations. these companies make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in the Funds.Emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors as well as increased BlackRock is not affiliated with the companies listed above.volatility and lower trading volume. Narrowly focused investments and securities focusing on a The MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index) IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalizationsingle country may be subject to higher volatility. index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global developed andBonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. A portion of a municipal bond emerging markets. As of April 2012, the MSCI ACWI consisted of 45 country indices comprisingfund’s income may be subject to federal or state income taxes or the alternative minimum tax. 24 developed and 21 emerging market country indices. The developed market country indicesCapital gains, if any, are subject to capital gains tax. High-yield securities may be more volatile, included are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,be subject to greater levels of credit or default risk, and may be less liquid and more difficult to Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal,sell at an advantageous time or price to value than higher-rated securities of similar maturity. Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. TheMortgage-backed securities are subject to prepayment and extension risk and therefore react emerging market country indices included are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic,differently to changes in interest rates than other bonds. Small movements in interest rates Egypt, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland,may quickly and significantly reduce the value of certain mortgage-backed securities. TIPS can Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey.provide investors a hedge against inflation, as the inflation adjustment feature helps preserve The MSCI ACWI (All Country World Index) ex USA IndexSM is a free float-adjusted marketthe purchasing power of the investment. Because of this inflation adjustment feature, inflation capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the globalprotected bonds typically have lower yields than conventional fixed rate bonds and will likely developed and emerging markets, excluding the USA. As of April 2012, the MSCI ACWI exdecline in price during periods of deflation, which could result in losses. Government backing USA consisted of the following 44 developed and emerging market country indices: Australia,applies only to government issued securities, not iShares exchange traded funds. Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt,An investment in the Fund(s) is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy,Corporation or any other government agency. Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru,Index returns are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent actual Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland,iShares Fund performance. Index performance returns do not reflect any Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United Kingdom.management fees, transaction costs or expenses. Indexes are unmanaged The MSCI EAFE® Index (Europe, Australasia, Far East) is a free float-adjusted marketand one cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance does not capitalization index that is designed to measure developed market equity performance,guarantee future results. excluding the USA & Canada. As of April 2012, the MSCI EAFE Index consisted of the followingFor actual iShares Fund performance, please visit www.iShares.com or request a prospectus 22 developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France,by calling 1-800-iShares (1-800-474-2737). Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.The iShares Funds that are registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commissionunder the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Funds”) are distributed in the US by BlackRock The MSCI Europe ex UK IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that isInvestments, LLC (together with its affiliates, “BlackRock”). designed to measure developed market equity performance in Europe, excluding the United Kingdom. As of April 2012, the MSCI Europe ex UK Index consisted of the following 15In Latin America, for Institutional and Professional Investors Only (Not for Public Distribution): developed market country indices: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,This material is solely for educational purposes and does not constitute an offer or solicitation Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any shares of any fund (nor shall any such shares be The MSCI Germany IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designedoffered or sold to any person) in any jurisdiction in which an offer, solicitation, purchase or sale to measure equity market performance in Germany.would be unlawful under the securities law of that jurisdiction. It is possible that some or all ofthe funds mentioned or inferred to in this material have not been registered with the securities The MSCI Korea IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed toregulator of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay or any other securities regulator in measure equity market performance in Korea.any Latin American country, and thus, might not be publicly offered within any such country. The MSCI Switzerland IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that isThe securities regulators of such countries have not confirmed the accuracy of any information designed to measure equity market performance in Switzerland.contained herein. No information discussed herein can be provided to the general public in The MSCI France IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed toLatin America. measure equity market performance in France.In Hong Kong, this document is issued by BlackRock (Hong Kong) Limited and has not been The MSCI UK IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed toreviewed by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. In Singapore, this is issued measure equity market performance in the United Kingdom.by BlackRock (Singapore) Limited (Co. registration no. 200010143N). The MSCI Japan IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed toNotice to residents in Australia: measure equity market performance in Japan.Issued in Australia by BlackRock Investment Management (Australia) Limited ABN 13 006 The MSCI Pacific Free ex Japan IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that165 975, AFSL 230523 (“BIMAL”) to institutional investors only. iShares® exchange traded is designed to measure developed market equity performance in the Pacific region, excludingfunds (“ETFs”) that are made available in Australia are issued by BIMAL, iShares, Inc. ARBN Japan. As of April 2012, the MSCI Pacific Free ex Japan Index consisted of the following four125 632 279 and iShares Trust ARBN 125 632 411. BlackRock Asset Management Australia developed market country indices: Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.Limited (“BAMAL”) ABN 33 001 804 566, AFSL 225 398 is the local agent and intermediary The MSCI Canada IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed tofor iShares ETFs that are issued by iShares, Inc. and iShares Trust. BIMAL and BAMAL are measure equity market performance in Canada.wholly-owned subsidiaries of BlackRock, Inc. (collectively “BlackRock”). A Product Disclosure
    • For more information visit www.iShares.com or call 1-800-474-2737 The MSCI USA IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to MSCI EM EMEA Index consisted of the following eight emerging market country indices: Czech measure equity market performance in the United States. Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and South Africa. The MSCI Taiwan IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to Source: MSCI. Neither MSCI nor any other party involved in or related to compiling, computing measure equity market performance in Taiwan. or creating the MSCI data makes any express or implied warranties or representations with The MSCI China IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to respect to such data (or the results to be obtained by the use thereof), and all such parties measure equity market performance in China. hereby expressly disclaim all warranties of originality, accuracy, completeness, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose with respect to any of such data. Without limiting any of The MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index the foregoing, in no event shall MSCI, any of its affiliates or any third party involved in or that is designed to measure equity market performance in the global emerging markets. As related to compiling, computing or creating the data have any liability for any direct, indirect, of April 2012, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index consisted of the following 21 emerging special, punitive, consequential or any other damages (including lost profits) even if notified of market country indices: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, India, the possibility of such damages. No further distribution or dissemination of the MSCI data is Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, South Africa, permitted without MSCI’s express written consent. The MSCI data may only be used for your Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey. internal use and may not be used to create any financial instruments or products (including MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) Asia IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index funds and derivative instruments) or any indexes. that is designed to measure emerging market equity performance in Asia. As of April 2012, the Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This material represents an MSCI EM Asia Index consisted of the following eight emerging market country indices: China, assessment of the market environment at a specific time and is not intended to be a forecast India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. of future events, or a guarantee of future results. This information should not be relied upon by The MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) Latin America IndexSM is a free float-adjusted market the reader as research or investment advice regarding the funds or any security in particular. capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in Latin America. ©2012 BlackRock, Inc. All Rights reserved. BLACKROCK, BLACKROCK SOLUTIONS, and As of April 2012, the MSCI EM Latin America Index consisted of the following five emerging iSHARES are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the United States market country indices: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. and elsewhere. All other trademarks, servicemarks or registered trademarks are the propertyiS-7811-0812 The MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) Europe, Middle East and Africa IndexSM is a free float- of their respective owners. iS-7811-0812 3919-03RB-8/12 adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance in the emerging market countries of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As of April 2012, the Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value