The Europe exchange traded funds that have recently commanded the most attention can be split into three categories.
First, there are the currency hedged ETFs that packed on new assets at a voracious clip as investors bet the European Central Bank would unveil its own version of quantitative easing. Second, Switzerland ETFs have been getting the most attention they have seen in a long time following the Swiss National Bank’s decision to scrap the franc’s peg to the euro.
Finally, the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GREK) and rival PIIGS ETFs were in focus in the run-up to last weekend’s Greek elections. Meanwhile, some other single-country Europe ETFs have been overlooked. [More Declines Seen for Greece ETF]
That has been the case for the iShares MSCI Belgium Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWK), which after rising just 0.6% last year is already up almost 3% to start 2015. Belgium’s benchmark Bel-20 has recently rallied, moving to some old resistance. Studying the Bel-20’s chart is important for two reasons.
First, a move above that resistance could represent a significant breakout for the index and EWK. Second, some of the largest components in the Bel-20 are also found among EWK’s largest holdings.
“The Bel-20 Index closed yesterday close to 3550, just above the listed levels. However, it did pull back today to close right on that key 3530 level. We are not suggesting this is the end of the road for the Belgium rally, or other Northern European markets that have likewise broken out. However, given these key Fibonacci levels and the strong gains over the past week, the market may need to consolidate some before moving higher again. In other words, don’t be surprised if Belgian stocks waffle here for a little bit,” notes Dana Lyons of J. Lyons Fund Management.
The $123.1 million EWK represents a compelling avenue for conservative investors to gain Eurozone exposure. EWK’s three-year standard deviation of 13.85% is well below the 17.48% found on the iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU).
EWK’s conservative posture also shines though at the sector level where the ETF allocates 23.7% of its weight to beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD). Overall, the ETF features a 32% weight to the consumer staples sector. None of EWK’s other 44 holdings receive a weight north of 7.7%. [Belgium ETF Shines]
EWK trades a third of a percent above its 200-day moving average and about 5.7% below its 52-week high.
Chart Courtesy: Dana Lyons, J. Lyons Fund Management
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.