A Dutch ETF Treat

Obviously, the following missive will be about the oft-overlooked iShares MSCI Netherlands ETF (NYSEArca: EWN), the lone U.S.-listed exchange traded fund dedicated to Dutch stocks.

It is easy to overlook Dutch stocks and EWN. The country is not nearly as controversial as the PIIGS and the Dutch economy and markets are not as expansive as their German and French counterparts. Those facts should not obfuscate Netherlands AEX stock index’s (AEX) leadership among European bourses and EWN’s 11.1% year-to-date gain.

“Odds are the AEX consolidates, at least briefly, at those April highs before resuming a new leg upward. Of note,  those April highs also represent the precise 61.8% Fibonacci Retracement of the decline from the AEX’s all-time high in 2000 to its low in 2009. That is further reason to expect a pause at that level. It also add to the significance of a break out above that level, if and when it should occur,” notes Dana Lyons of J. Lyons Fund Management.

EWN is home to 49 stocks, including some names familiar U.S. investors, such as Unilever (NYSE: UNV) and ING Groep (NYSE: ING). Why the ETF should matter for investors seeking single-country Europe exposure is simple: Favorable risk/reward. [Explosive Growth for Single-Country ETFs]

The $208.9 million EWN has a three-year standard deviation of less than 13.3%, according to iShares data. The average three-year standard deviation on the iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWI) and iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWP) is more than 740 basis points higher. Even the iShares MSCI Germany ETF (NYSEArca: EWG) is slightly more volatile than EWN. The Netherlands ETF has trounced its German and Spanish rivals this year.