Few single-country Europe ETFs can match the 2013 returns accrued by the iShares MSCI Spain ETF (NYSEArca: EWP).
EWP, the lone Spain ETF, is higher by nearly 25% while the comparable France and Italy ETFs are up “just” 19.7% and 15.3%, respectively. The equivalent Germany and Netherlands ETFs are both up more than 20%, but both are well behind EWP. Even the controversial and volatile Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) for all of its recent bullishness still lags EWP. [Run Don’t Walt to Greece ETF]
Although EWP is up about 14.1% in the past 90 days, the ETF has recently experienced a dip, tumbling 4.3% since Oct. 22. That dip has come even as investors have poured over $66.3 million into EWP since Oct. 22, a total that represents about 9% of the fund’s current assets under management tally. [Month of the PIIGS]
EWP recent, modest retrenchment could be the dip some investors have been waiting for to put on a tactical, single-country trade to complement a broader Europe ETF such as the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK), which allocates just 4.8% of its portfolio to Spanish stocks.
“Spanish stocks have been drifting downward for the past three weeks. This is a normal, healthy correction, and should be expected. But it’s also a great opportunity to accumulate new shares of your favorite Spanish stocks,” writes Charles Sizemore of the Sizemore Investment Letter.
Sizemore goes on to note “Spanish stocks are cheap, and investors are only now starting to warm up to them again. I believe the bull market is just getting started. But we should remember, this is Europe, a continent in crisis, and risk management is important.”
Buttressing the case for European stocks is the European Central Bank’s interest rate cut last week, which took benchmark rates to 0.25% from 0.5%.
Adding to the bull case for Spanish equities, as is the case across several of the Eurozone’s previously battered equity markets, are compelling valuations. EWP sports a P/E of 21.5 and a price-to-book ratio of 3.11, according to iShares data.
That sounds pricey, but using the Shiller cyclically adjusted P/E of around 10, Spanish stocks are cheap relative to other developed markets and their long-term averages.
EWP’s 12-month trailing yield of 3.9% is almost double that of the comparable Italy ETF and nearly 50 basis points higher than what is found on the iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ).
iShares MSCI Spain ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.
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.