With the European Central Bank readying a €1 trillion bullet in the chamber, investors can capture the potential growth opportunity through Europe hedged-equity exchange traded funds as the euro currency weakens against the U.S. dollar and the Eurozone economy rebounds.
If economic conditions deteriorate even further, ECB president Mario Draghi confirmed that the central bank is willing to inject €1 trillion, or $1.2 trillion, in stimulative measures to aid the economy, the Financial Times reports.
Broad Europe ETFs continued to weaken Thursday, with Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK), which includes exposure to the United Kingdom and Switzerland, down 0.4% and the iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU), which tracks European Monetary Union states, down 0.2%.
However, hedged-equity ETF offerings strengthened as the euro currency touched a two-year low. The euro currency fell 0.8% to $1.2391 on Thursday while the CurrencyShares Euro Currency Trust (NYSEArca: FXE) was 0.7% lower. [Euro Could Betray Seasonality This Year]
The central bank “is clearly strengthening its commitment to do more if needed relative to market expectations,” Valentin Marinov, head of European Group of 10 currency strategy at Citigroup Inc., said in a Bloomberg article. “That’s euro negative.”
A weaker euro currency would translate to lower U.S.-denominated returns on European assets. However, hedged-equity ETFs try to diminish the negative effects of a depreciating euro currency. On Thursday, the Deutsche X-Trackers MSCI Europe Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEU), which includes exposure to the U.K. and Switzerland, was up 0.4%, WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ), which only tracks Eurozone countries, gained 0.7% and the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: HEZU), the euro-hedged version of EZU, was 0.3% higher. Additionally, DBEU and HEDJ were both testing their 50- and 200-day simple moving averages Thursday.
The hedged-equity ETF strategies have been popular plays to capture overseas market exposure while diminishing currency risks. For instance, HEDJ has attracted almost $2.9 billion in assets so far this year while DBEU added $472.1 million in assets, according to ETF.com data. In contrast, VGK experienced $584.4 million in redemptions year-to-date. [Investors Dump Europe ETFs]
Investors could continue to flock to hedged Europe ETFs as the ECB tries to expand its balance sheet in an attempt to bringing inflation back to its target of just below 2% from its current 0.4%.
“The main message is that our balance sheet will keep expanding in the coming months . . . under all universes,” Draghi said.
WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund
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