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Argentina’s market rallied sharply on a historic election. How investors can play it

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Argentina last week held a historic election in which libertarian candidate Javier Milei came out victorious, sending the country’s stock market surging. The Merval , Argentina’s stock market benchmark, rallied 42% for the week. That was the index’s biggest weekly gain going back to at least 1991. The Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT) also popped 16.3% for its biggest weekly gain ever. Milei’s win comes after he campaigned on the abolition of the Argentine central bank, as well as the dollarization of the country’s economy. He has also touted spending cuts to the tune of a whopping 14% of gross domestic product , raising hope for a more market friendly presidency. However, investors may want to temper those expectations, as Milei’s incoming government faces an uphill battle to push through his agenda. ARGT 1M mountain ARGT 1-month chart “President Elect Milei is offering a bold reform agenda ahead, but the main challenge is that it may be hindered by political maneuverability,” wrote JPMorgan economist Diego Pereira. “Governability risks lay ahead given the lack of party structure, and also the power distribution in Congress after the general election.” Milei will take office on Dec. 10, but his Freedom Advances party will not have a majority in either the Senate or the Lower House. This means alliances will be needed to move legislation projects forward, which could in turn dilute items on the president elect’s agenda, including dollarizing the economy. “In Congress – even with members of other parties supporting him in the run-off – his party will be short the one-third of seats needed to prevent impeachment attempts,” HSBC senior economist Jorge Morgenstern wrote. “A negative performance of the economy or attempts to pass legislation via decree or referendum could heighten political turmoil, which in turn could weigh negatively on the economy.” The trade Trading in Argentine stocks has historically been a volatile endeavor. Over the past 10 years, the Merval has seen 1% daily moves more than 1,400 times. Those include Tuesday’s 22.8% rally and a 37.9% drop on Aug. 12, 2019. Meanwhile, the S & P 500 has seen just over 600 moves of that magnitude. That said, there are ways for investors in the U.S. to get exposure to the Argentine market if they think stocks can rise during Milei’s presidency. The easiest way is through the Global X MSCI Argentina ETF (ARGT). The fund is made up of 23 of “the largest and most liquid securities with exposure to Argentina,” GlobalX said on its website . It has an expense ratio of 0.59%. Some Argentine companies are also traded in the U.S., including e-commerce giant MercadoLibre . U.S.-listed shares are up 81% this year. Analysts also like the stock with 89% rating it a buy or strong buy. The average price target implies upside of about 10%. Other U.S.-listed Argentine stocks include oil name YPF — which surged nearly 57% last week — and Banco BBVA Argentina , which is up 34% in 2023.

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