Time and again this year, it has been said that U.S. stocks are the brightest developed market stars. Tell that to some of the major diversified Europe exchange traded funds.
Over the past 90 days, the S&P 500 is higher by 5.5%, exactly half the returns offered by the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK). To boot, VGK has a trailing 12-month yield of 3.28%, more than 125 basis points above the S&P 500. Investors love VGK not just because of the yield or recently stout performance, but also for the 0.12% expense ratio, which makes it cheaper than 93% of its rivals, according to issuer data.
While there are still risks when it comes to investing in Europe, VGK stands as a viable option for investors looking to participate in further upside for European equities. “While not for the faint of heart, its holdings are trading at reasonable valuations and may grow faster than their U.S. counterparts as conditions in Europe improve,” said Morningstar analyst Alex Bryan in a report.
For all the accolades, most of which are deserved, VGK may not be the Europe ETF for every investor, particularly the investor that is willing to bet it will be the Eurozone’s most downtrodden members that see their equity markets soar. [ETFs for a Eurozone Recovery]
“Top country weightings belong to the U.K. (33%), Switzerland (14%), and France (14%). The fund has limited direct exposure to the weakest members of the eurozone. For instance, together Italian and Spanish stocks account for less than 8% of the portfolio,” said Bryan.
ETFs tracking Switzerland and the U.K. have recently impressed, but neither is a Eurozone member and lack of Eurozone exposure cuts both ways. For example, the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 ETF (NYSEArca: FEZ) only has exposure to seven nations, all of which are Eurozone members. France and Germany combine for about 69% of FEZ’s weight. [Fundamentals Looking up for Europe ETFs]