ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Europe’s economy is in a shambles: Greece is dealing with a massive deficit, but not far behind are countries like Portugal, Spain and Ireland. There are still ways to get exposure in Europe via exchange traded funds (ETFs) while sidestepping these landmines.

Greece may have a bailout package in the works, but that only fixes one part of the problem in Europe. Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland are all facing huge issues that could spur the need for more bailouts and stimulus measures. Then there’s the contagion risk; perhaps countries like Germany and France are doing fine now, but they could eventually get dragged down with the weaker nations. [Spain ETF: In a Delicate Position.]

But not every country in Europe is suffering the same fate.

That’s why ETFs like Global X FTSE Nordic 30  (NYSEArca: GXF) have a certain appeal.  It makes sense to avoid the area at greatest risk and seek out less systemic risk, and GDX does this. It allocates 45% to Sweden, 19% to Norway, 18% to Denmark and 17% to Finland. The first three nations have their own currency, while Finland is part of the European Monetary Union, Roger Nusbaum for The Street says.

To get away from the eurozone issues, take a look at other European countries that are on their own currencies, because there are plenty of good things happening:

  • Switzerland’s economic growth barometer rose to its highest level since December 2007 last month, confirming feelings that the country is on track for a strong recovery. The Swiss government acknowledges, though, that like many developed nations, the recovery may be spotty and slow.
  • Norway has left its interest rates unchanged after bumping them up twice in the fourth quarter. The primary reason for the rate hikes were asset bubble concerns in the housing sector. Norway’s central bank was the first in Europe to boost rates.
  • Denmark’s fourth-quarter GDP was cause for hope: it rose 0.2% from the third quarter, right in line with the predictions. It’s also the second straight quarter of growth, albeit modest growth.
  • Sweden is struggling a bit more than the others. In the fourth quarter, its economy shrank 0.6%, putting the country back into a recession. A ray of light was offered, though: the decline in exports is slowing, giving some hope that the country may again seen growth this quarter.

For more stories about global ETFs, visit our global ETF category.

  • Global X FTSE Nordic 30 (NYSEArca: GXF)

  • iShares MSCI Switzerland (NYSEArca: EWL)

  • iShares MSCI Sweden (NYSEArca: EWD)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.