The iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ), the largest France exchange traded fund trading in the U.S., is up 5.3% year-to-date. That performance can be seen as impressive when considering the controversy surrounding France’s upcoming national election – the first round of voting takes place on Sunday, April 23.
EWQ allocates over 37% of its combined weight to industrial and consumer discretionary stocks while financials and healthcare names combine for over a quarter of the ETF’s weight. Some market observers are concerned about far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has been openly critical of Islamic fundamentalism.
Markets likely want Le Pen to be defeated and that appears to be likely outcome in France, which could further support EWQ.
Earlier this year, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, also sounded a bullish tone on Europe. Additionally, some data points suggest investors are looking to Europe for value opportunities as they now view U.S. equities as overvalued.
“We see European stocks as big beneficiaries of the broadening global reflationary environment and believe investors are too skeptical of the region’s prospects,” Richard Turnill, Global Chief Investment Strategist for BlackRock, said in a research note, pointing out that BlackRock upgraded its view on European equities.