There is ample ebullience surrounding Europe exchange traded funds these days and the sentiment applies to both diversified and single-country funds.
Although European equities remain more volatile than their U.S. counterparts, there is evidence that the Eurozone is slowly emerging from its economic slumber and could even post positive, albeit modestly so, GDP growth next year. That could be a sign a more tactical approach to Europe ETFs will be advantageous for investors willing to embrace some added risk.
The iShares MSCI Europe Financials ETF (NasdaqGS: EUFN) is one fund to consider under such a scenario.
“Despite the big shift up in equity markets in 2013 and the rise in valuations, the prospects for equities remain very attractive relative to the alternatives and in absolute terms returns are likely to slow but remain strong, particularly in real terms,” Goldman Sachs said of European stocks according to a note obtained by MarketWatch.
Banks are among the ways to play ongoing positive sentiment toward European equities and investors have been taking note of EUFN. In August, the ETF had $140 million in assets under management, but that number was up to $316.5 million as of Thursday. [Bank ETF Shakes Off European Debt Fears]
For the first six months of this year, EUFN averaged 60,000 shares per day in volume, but that number is now north of 176,000.
Another number to watch EUFN is its 12-month trailing dividend yield of 1.82%, a number that could be poised to rise as European banks begin reinstating and continue boosting payouts.
Banco Santander (NYSE: SAN), EUFN’s second-largest holding at a weight of 5.3%, is expected to be a significant contributor of European dividend growth over the next year. French and Swiss banks are also expected to be prodigious dividend raisers. Those two countries combine for nearly 24% of EUFN’s weight. [Bank of European Bank Dividends]
Among the risks facing EUFN and its 103 holdings is the expectation that following J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) recent $13 billion settlement with U.S. regulators, that some major European banks will continue setting aside large amounts of cash for potential legal woes.
In addition to fines, regulators in Switzerland, Britain, Sweden and elsewhere are ratcheting up capital requirements to avert a replay of the financial crisis, Reuters reported.
Those countries combine for over 51% of EUFN’s weight.
iShares MSCI Europe Financials ETF