Already among this year’s best ex-U.S. developed market performers, more upside could be in store for Europe and Japan exchange traded funds next year if new forecasts by Goldman Sachs prove accurate.
The bank is overweight on both markets with a 2014 target of 1,450 for Japan’s Topix and 360 for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index or 16% and 12%, respectively, above current levels, according to CNBC.
Buoyed by Abenomics in Japan and signs the Eurozone is emerging from one of history’s worst sovereign debt crises, Europe and Japan ETFs have been prodigious gatherers of assets this year. The WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DXJ) and the iShares MSCI Japan ETF (NYSEArca: EWJ) are the top asset-gathering ETFs this year with combine inflows of $15.3 billion. [Good News for Japan ETFs: Goldman Still Bullish]
The Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) has hauled in $6.2 billion while the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSEArca: EFA), which is heavily tilted toward Japan and Europe, has accumulated $4.8 billion in fresh investments.
“There are still latent risks in Europe due to the large outstanding debt stocks, but the near-term risks from this have been declining and we do expect European growth to pick up,” said Goldman, CNBC reported.
In Europe, British and Swiss equities have been solid performers this year, helping VGK and the iShares Europe ETF (NYSEArca: IEV) to year-to-date gains of 20%. However, ETFs that exclude the U.K. and Switzerland in favor of a heavier focus on the Eurozone recently started outperforming their more conservatively positioned counterparts. In the past 90 days, the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 Fund (NYSEArca: FEZ) has outpaced IEV and VGK by over 400 basis points. [Europe ETFs Look to Stay Strong]
With Goldman forecasting an uptick in European corporate margins, investors may want to consider Europe ETFs with decent cyclical exposure. FEZ allocates a combined 29% of its weight to industrial, discretionary and materials names while the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ), which would benefit if the euro declines, has a combined 39% weight industrial and discretionary names.
iShares Europe ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of DXJ and EFA.