The iShares MSCI Belgium Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWK) is up 4.3% year-to-date and although the lone Belgium exchange traded funds has followed other Europe single-country funds lower in recent weeks as European equity market volatility has climbed, EWK could still be a way for conservative investors to gain Eurozone exposure.
EWK’s large allocation to food, beverage and staples stocks does mean the ETF is conservative in sector posture. Beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) occupies a massive percentage of EWK’s weight, more than two and a half times the allocation given to the ETF’s second-largest holding. Though not on par with Greece, Belgium has its bouts with political volatility, a situation that has been benign for over a year.
“From Q2 2013, Belgium’s GDP growth rate is stable, but rather poor (0-0.5%). In Q2 2015, the country’s economy expanded 0.4% over the previous quarter. The indicator almost perfectly reproduces what is happening in the EU economy (please look at the chart below). The unemployment rate is projected to decrease from a ten-year high of 8.5% last year to 8.1% in 2016 as job creation in the private sector picks up – according to European Commission data,” notes a post on Seeking Alpha.
Some market participants believe last month’s selloff created value in European stocks and that it may have been excessive, especially since most leading European indicators point to continued economic expansion. All the recent selling did was restore value to the European market. [Europe ETFs on the Cheap]
EWK’s large allocation to food, beverage and staples stocks does mean the ETF is slightly pricier than a broader measure of Eurozone stocks so last month’s Europe selloff brings relief on the valuation front for the Belgium ETF.
“The investment mood has been very good, despite China’s fundamental problems. In fact, there are a few good reasons to invest in European equities. For example, quantitative easing provides support to consumption and money supply in the eurozone. Result? Better growth,” notes the Seeking Alpha Commentary on EWK.
iShares MSCI Belgium Capped ETF
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.