Spanish stocks and country-specific exchange traded funds, including the largest Spain ETF, the iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWP) endured what could have been a volatile week last week as Catalonia mulled independence from the rest of the country.
Spanish stock observers are keeping a close on eye on the situation as Catalonia makes up almost one-fifth of Spain’s gross domestic product and one-quarter of exports. Losing the region would put a significant dent in Spain’s ability to dig itself out of the prolonged slump. [Catalonia Independence Hangs Over Spain ETFs]
For their efforts, EWP and other Spain ETFs were rewarded when Standard & Poor’s upgraded the country’s credit rating to BBB+. Spain is the fourth-largest economy in the Eurozone behind Germany, France and Italy.
“The Spanish economy is growing at the fastest pace in eight years as the nation puts behind it the worst economic crisis in its democratic history. Even so, the Bank of Spain estimated Sept. 30 that growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the third quarter and said the economy may be seeing a ‘loss of vigor,’” reports Bloomberg.
Investors can also consider the factor based SPDR MSCI Spain Quality Mix ETF (NYSEArca: QESP) as an alternative to the cap-weighted EWP. The quality factor “captures excess returns to stocks that are characterized by low debt, stable earnings growth and other ‘quality’ metrics,” according to MSCI.