With the Russia-Ukraine conflict ongoing and intensifying, it’s easy for investors to say that they’re going to pass on Europe stocks and exchange traded funds, even the ETFs that are lightly allocated to those countries.
However, times of crisis offer opportunities, indicating that investors may want to give some near-term consideration to funds such as the WisdomTree Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund (NYSEArca: EUDG). EUDG, which tracks the WisdomTree Europe Quality Dividend Growth Index, could offer investors a pleasant surprise against the backdrop of armed conflict in Eastern Europe.
“Historically, European stocks have fared well after a geopolitical crisis. The Euro Stoxx 600 averages a 20% gain for the 12 months following a crisis, according to Citigroup, which studied market returns after the 1991 Gulf War, the 2003 Iraq War, and the 2014 Crimean Crisis,” reports Jacob Sonenshine for Barron’s.
It’s just one week, but EUDG is strutting its stuff… sort of. Over that time, the WisdomTree ETF is off 2.44% compared to a 5.57% loss for the MSCI Eurozone Index. That’s a testament to dividends and the quality factor providing investors with avenues for reducing turbulence when volatility spikes.
Comprised of large-cap European dividend-payers, EUDG has exposure to 15 countries, none of which are Russia or Ukraine. In fact, the bulk of EUDG’s geographic exposures fit the bills as low volatility, value markets, or both. For example, the U.K. and Switzerland combine for over 43% of the fund’s weight.
As counterintuitive as it may sound at the moment, EUDG’s scant 1.65% allocation to energy stocks could be an advantage going forward if oil prices decline dramatically if there’s sudden resolution in Ukraine.
“To be sure, more fallout could be coming from Russia’s attack on Ukraine—maybe oil sanctions or maybe a gut punch to European banks over the SWIFT ban. Or the war could rage on, dragging down European stocks even more, making the dipper even bigger—and a better buy,” according to Barron’s.
Industrial, consumer staples, and healthcare stocks combine for over 48% of EUDG’s roster. Perhaps the most important part of the EUDG conversation — beyond volatility-reducing capabilities — is the strong outlook for European dividend growth. Nearly all of the marquee country weights in the WisdomTree fund are poised to deliver payout growth this year. For its part, EUDG has a distribution yield of 0.85%, according to issuer data. That implies ample room for dividend growth.
For more news, information, and strategy, visit the Modern Alpha Channel.
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.