European stocks are wilting alongside their U.S. counterparts and that is, predictably causing problems for some familiar exchange traded funds that track European equities.
With Monday’s loss, the S&P 500 is down almost 6.7% over the past month, but Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 are each down more than 8% over that period and the Euro Stoxx 50 is on its worst losing streak in 17 months.
Those facts (and others) are not inspiring investors to stick with select Europe ETFs with the notable names such as the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK), the largest U.S.-listed Europe ETF. VGK, which earlier this year was one of the top asset-gathering ETFs after adding assets for eight straight quarters, has shed $2 billion, the most ever, over the past three months, reports Sofia Horta e Costa for Bloomberg.
As Bloomberg notes, investors have shown comparable disdain for single-country Europe ETFs. Since the start of the third quarter, investors have pulled $362.2 million from the iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWI) and $201 million from the iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWP). The iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ) is lighter by $134 million since the start of the July and outflows from the France ETF could accelerate after the CAC 40 hit a 52-week low Monday. [No French Kiss for This ETF]
Outflows from VGK and comparable Europe ETFs serve as a reminder of the currency risks investors take on when investing in markets outside the U.S.
While Eurozone nations combine for about 48% of VGK’s weight, the ETF allocates another 46.7% to the U.K. and Switzerland. That country lineup has made VGK increasingly vulnerable at a time when the euro, British pound and Swiss france are weakening and the U.S. dollar is gaining strength. [Euro Could Betray Seasonal Trends]