Given the disparate stances among the candidates, the markets anticipate heightened volatility after the first round. Nevertheless, some see a potential for opportunity if extreme volatile moves follow the eventual winner.
For example, the most obvious play would be to look at the iShares MSCI France ETF (EWQ). 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. Markets likely want Le Pen to be defeated and that appears to be likely outcome in France, which could further support EWQ.
For a broader play, something like the iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU), which tracks the MSCI European Monetary Union Index, provides a targeted play to Eurozone markets. France is its largest country component at 32.3% over the underlying portfolio, followed by Germany 29.7% and Netherlands 11.0%.
Investors worried that lingering uncertainty could further weigh on the euro currency can also consider the currency-hedged WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ), which includes a 24.7% tilt toward France. The currency-hedged ETF may outperform non-hedged Europe funds if the euro currency depreciates.
On the other hand, traders may look to something like the Direxion Daily European Financials Bear 1X Shares (NYSEArca: EUFS), and the ProShares UltraShort FTSE Europe (NYSEArca: EPV), which tracks the -2x or -200% daily performance of the FTSE Developed Europe Index, to hedge against further pullbacks in Eurozone equities.
Additionally, aggressive currency traders can also target further weakness in the Eurozone through inverse ETF options. For instance, the ProShares Short Euro (NYSEArca: EUFX) is designed to provide 100% of the inverse, or opposite, return of the U.S. dollar price of the euro, on a daily basis and the ProShares UltraShort Euro (NYSEArca: EUO) provides 200% of the inverse return of the U.S. dollar price of the euro on a daily basis. The Market Vectors Double Short Euro ETN (NYSEArca: DRR) tracks the Double Short Euro Index, which also provides a -200% exposure to the euro.
Full disclosure: Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of HEDJ.