The last time Portugal was in the headlines in any significant way during the PIIGS crisis several years back, there was no ETF to speak of that represented the country’s equity market.
Fortunately that is not the case today as we see PGAL (Global X FTSE Portugal 20, Expense Ratio 0.61%) listed, and it has been on the market since November of last year, having attracted only about $24 million in assets under management thus far.
As its name suggests, the ETF tracks 20 stocks in the FTSE Portugal Index, with top end exposure to several names, Energias de Portugal SA (21.05%), and Galp Energia SGPS SA (13.56%), followed by Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA (7.91%). Utilities (>28%), Financial Services (>17%), and Energy (>13%) are well represented in terms of the sector allocations in the index.
Understandably, with today’s distress there, PGAL is getting hammered, down almost 4% on heavier than average volume in the product for the fourth straight session. After a promising run that began in mid-May in Portugal, things violently turned the other way in terms of equity prices and the situation has worsened throughout July.
European equities in general are not handling this situation well, as a benchmark product like FEZ (SPDR Euro STOXX 50, Expense Ratio 0.29%) has gapped down today nearly 2%, and is trading at its lowest level since late May.
This unforeseen “stress” may continue to pressure Banks, not only European ones but U.S. based banks as well through the next several weeks as we slog through corporate earnings season.