With major national elections scheduled this year for a slew of major Eurozone economies, including Germany and France, the region’s two largest economies, some investors are understandably pensive about embracing European stocks and the related exchange traded funds.
However, improving economic conditions and strengthening company earnings in Europe are signals that diversified exchange traded fund investors should keep in mind when looking for areas of potential growth after a multi-year run in U.S. markets leaves less opportunities at home.
Investors interested in gaining exposure to the European markets have a number of options available. For instance, the iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU) and SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (NYSEArca: FEZ) provide access to Eurozone markets. However, the two do not hedge their currency exposure, so they may be negatively affected by a weakening euro currency.
The Eurozone ETFs are also attractively priced relative to U.S. markets, especially after a multi-year bull run has pushed U.S. equities to record highs, with many areas either fairly priced or trading above their historical values. For instance, EZU is trading at a 14.6 price-to-earnings and a 1.5 price-to-book and FEZ shows a 14.2 P/E and a 1.5 P/B, whereas the S&P 500 Index is hovering around a 18.7 P/E and a 2.7 P/B.