The Global X MSCI Argentina ETF, which offers exposure to a basket of the country's most liquid stocks, soared more than 13% on Monday and hit its highest level since September.
While the South American country's markets are closed on Monday for a local holiday, U.S.-listed shares of Argentinian companies also surged in U.S. trading.
The gains for the ETF came through large amounts of small trades, Todd Sohn, an ETF analyst at Strategas in New York, said.
By mid-morning, the value of trading in the ETF had topped $11 million, compared with average of about $1 million a day throughout 2023. Most of those trades came in blocks of 100 shares or even fewer, Sohn said.
"There seems to be a lot of random trading by retail investors playing the volatility" following the election news and amid speculation about Milei's proposals to tackle Argentina's economic woes, Sohn added.
Some of the largest investors of record in ARGT as of Sept. 30 include hedge fund Millennium Management LLC, which could not immediately be reached for comment.
The roster of large shareholders also includes ETF marketmakers and wealth management and advisory firms catering to high-net worth individuals and families.
ARGT, one of a number of small country-specific ETFs, currently has only about $56 million in assets. By far its largest holding is MercadoLibre Inc., which accounts for 28% of the fund.
Other Argentina stocks that saw their U.S. listed shares rally were oil company YPF, up 39.7%, and financials Banco Macro and Grupo Financiero Galicia.
"These small country funds are ideal vehicles for small day traders who jump on events" like Sunday's presidential election in Argentina, Sohn said.
(Reporting by Suzanne McGee; editing by Megan Davies and Andrew Heavens)
By Suzanne McGee