All things considered, and those things include another bout of Greece’s financial ineptitude that again pushed the country to the brink of Eurozone expulsion, the iShares MSCI Europe Financials ETF (NYSEArca: EUFN) has been remarkable this year with a 5.5% gain.
The $447.7 million ETF has some advantages, namely no exposure to Greece and that it is not dedicated Eurozone fund as British and Swiss stocks combine for about 43% of the fund’s weight. Developed international stocks and exchange traded funds are pulling ahead with the Eurozone strengthening on improved earnings and Japan finding support from domestic institutional investors.
In Greece, observers are concerned about the capital quality in banks. Greek banks rely on deferred tax assets to shore up the unhealthy parts of their capital, which needs to be replaced. [Tactical Application of Thematic ETFs]
Even in a potentially volatile environment chock full of macro headwinds, EUFN and its 100 member firms offer upside for investors.
“Europe’s financial firms are coming off a terrific second quarter in earnings, with average gains of 35% from a year earlier. In fact, the once-beleaguered financials are ‘leading the recovery in earnings growth’ in Europe, says a recent Barclay’s research note,” reports Lawrence C. Strauss for Barron’s.
A hurdle for European banks is the weak euro/strong dollar. EUFN is not a currency hedged ETF, so it is not positioned to exploit that theme. In dollar terms, the strong performances turned by some EUFN constituents are not as impressive as they are in local currency terms.