Pakistan's Karachi Stock Exchange has been one of hottest stock markets in the world. Backed by strong economic expansion and double digit profit and revenue growths in the major private sector companies, the KSE-100 rose 44% last year. Pakistan has been designated among the "Next-11" emerging economies by Goldman Sachs and called a "safe haven" for investors by Merrill Lynch Asia Chief Strategist Mark Matthews.
There is considerable interest by individual US investors looking for opportunities to invest in Pakistan stocks. Unfortunately, there are no pure-play mutual funds investing exclusively in Pakistan. However, there are at least two companies specializing in Asian economies that invest part of the portfolio in Pakistan along with India, Sri Lanka and other countries in Asia. These companies are Matthews Funds and Eaton Vance Funds.
Eaton Vance has Eaton Vance Greater India A Fund(ETGIX) that describes itself as follows: The investment seeks long-term capital appreciation. The fund normally invests at least 80% of net assets in equity securities of companies in India and surrounding countries of the Indian subcontinent. At least 50% of total assets will be invested in equity securities of Indian companies, and no more than 5% of total assets will be invested in companies located in countries other than India, Pakistan or Sri Lanka. The fund invests in companies with a broad range of market capitalizations, including smaller companies.
Matthews Asia Funds has Matthews Asia Pacific Equity Income Fund (MAPIX) which describes its geographic focus as follows: The Asia Pacific Region, which includes Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
If the Pakistani economy and markets continue to perform well and the US individual investor interest in Pakistan continues to grow, I see more mutual fund management companies developing focused funds to take advantage of the high investment returns in Pakistan.
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