The Swiss ETF iShares MSCI Switzerland Fund (NYSEArca: EWL) has erased losses from 2011 and is back in positive territory this year. The battered EU has sent investors fleeing out of Europe, however, Switzerland maintains a AAA credit rating and long term potential.
“Switzerland unlike the European Union economies is a developed economy with budget surplus and credit rating of ‘AAA’. The unemployment rate of the region stands at 2.8%, much lower than the neighboring economies,” according to Zacks Equity Research. The unemployment rate in the broad Eurozone was at 11.6% in September, and it seems to be on the rise. For the short term, some analysts are predicting that more austerity measures may be taken by Eurozone countries. [Single-Country ETFs That Offer Yield]
For investors who want some European exposure to a healthy economy should focus in on Switzerland. The risk of euro currency exposure is not evident, currently. However, the Swiss franc is now pegged to the euro, and the Swiss National Bank has intervened and put a floor on the franc to the euro at 1.20. [The Contrarian: Single Country ETFs]
The local ETF market appears to be thriving in Switzerland, as recent growth shows upward momentum. For overseas investors who want exposure to the Swiss economy, there are two funds trading on U.S. exchanges. [ETF Chart of the Day: Switzerland and the Swiss Franc]
EWLconsists of large-cap Swiss companies, with a lean toward the healthcare sector. There s $654.5 million in assets and costs 52 basis points. EWL is up 15.8% in 2012, which has erased the loss of 7.31% seen in 2011. The First Trust Switzerland AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FSZ) is another option, and it is fairly new, launched in February of this year. FSZ has exposure to small, mid and large-cap shares and exposes investors to both growth and value. The ETF has about $4 million in assets, creating an ill-liquid fund that costs 80 basis points.
“Overall, the Swiss exchange has 880 products in the ETF segment as of September 30, 2012, including 135 in additional trading currencies. SIX Swiss Exchange saw 86 new ETFs listed from July to September 2012. A novelty were the ETFs on MSCI Socially Responsible Indices and Swiss Pfandbriefe launched by UBS ETF for the first time,” John Norris wrote for Investment Europe.
iShares MSCI Switzerland Fund
Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.