Following the Greek debt crisis, France and Italy exchange traded funds quickly bounced back and are among the best performing countries in the Eurozone.
Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI Italy Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWI) increased 14.7% and iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ) rose 10.4%. In contrast, the iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU) was up 8.4% and the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (NYSEArca: FEZ) was 6.8% higher so far this year. [ETFs to Access Stronger Overseas Developed Markets]
Additionally, BlackRock iShares recently came out with a euro-currency-hedged version of EWI, the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Italy ETF (NYSEArca: HEWI), for investors who are wary about further weakness in the EUR.
In the Eurozone, the French and Italian markets have been outperforming as their economies play catch up to the Germany, the largest economy in the region, report Gavin Jackson and Thomas Hale for the Financial Times.
The iShares MSCI Germany ETF (NYSEArca: EWG) has only returned 5.9% year-to-date.
Strengthening the local economies, the European Central Bank has enacted a quantitative easing program to boost economic activity. France and Italy, though, have been pulling ahead in recent weeks, partly due to the belief that the two countries were thought to be most at risk to a debt contagion from Greece, according to Nick Lawson, co-head of macro trades at Deutsche Bank. Consequently, as the Greek concerns dissipated, France and Italy have outperformed relative to their European neighbors.
“It doesn’t take much to move them either,” Lawson told the Financial Times.