Five ETFs For A Greek Default
Here's a headline that should mean good news: "Greek leaders agree to new spending cuts in bid to avert default." That came courtesy of the Los Angeles Times earlier today. Hopefully, those words prove accurate and Greece will really be able to skirt default.
Then again, the market has been down this road. Teased, tempted and titillated by the prospects of legitimated Greek austerity only to see a curve ball thrown at the last minute to screw the whole thing up. Put another way, until all the key players have signed on the dotted line of a Greek debt deal and we see it happening live on CNBC, CNN, etc., it's a good idea to be a tad leery about Greece getting its fiscal house in order.
Intrade puts the odds of Standard & Poor's rating one of the PIIGS as in default by Dec. 31, 2012 as 79.2%. That's high. And just as there are ETFs for a possible Portugal default, there are options to consider with Greece as well.
Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK) As the only Greece-specific ETF on the market, the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF gets plenty of press and makes for an ideal target in the event of Greece's struggles to right its proverbial ship. That said, GREK has defied the odds and naysayers this year. There's no getting around that.
Since the ETF has moved up in straight line fashion, a pullback might be warranted, but the question needs to be asked: Can Greek stocks really perform any worse than they did in 2011? If the answer is "no," and it very well could be, then a pullback in GREK becomes a buying opportunity.
Guggenheim Shipping ETF (NYSE: SEA) Want to know the secret to GREK's success? It's NOT heavily allocated to one of Greece's most important industries: Shipbuilding. On the other hand, the Guggenheim Shipping ETF is and outside of GREK, no ETF is more Greek than SEA. Don't be deceived by this ETF's yield. Many of SEA's constituents have become stocks that traders love to toy with and with the Baltic Dry Index providing little in the way of help, SEA's recent run higher could just be a better shorting opportunity for some should news out of Greece worsen.
PowerShares DB Italian Treasury Bond Futures ETN (NYSE: ITLY) The PowerShares DB Italian Treasury Bond Futures ETN has been one of the best bond exchange-traded products that few have mentioned in 2012 and part of that run can be attributed to the notion that investors are feeling better that Italy might be able to avoid default. Obviously, ITLY and it's leveraged cousin, the PowerShares DB 3x Italian Treasury Bond Futures ETN (NYSE: ITLT), focus on Italian bonds, but bad news out of Greece could send Italian yields soaring, punishing these ETNs in the process. Or the reverse could prove true and ITLY and ITLT both continue their bullish ways.
PowerShares DB Gold Double Short ETN (NYSE: DZZ) There was a time when long gold ETFs went up when Greece-related jitters ran high. In 2012, Greece and gold have arguably been joined at the hip. For less than $5, the PowerShares DB Gold Double Short ETN is a fine way of hedging long positions in an ETF like the SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD) AND profiting from further Greek calamity.
Pimco Germany Bond Index Fund (NYSE: BUND BUND made our list of Portugal plays and it should be on this list as well. This is what we said about the new PIMCO fund earlier this week: "BUND debuted in November and is the only U.S. ETF that aims to provide focused exposure to euro-denominated, investment grade bonds issued by German issuers, according to Pimco's Web site.
"Translation: If/when Portuguese bond yields blowout again, BUND might be a nice shelter-from-the-storm play. BUND has $12.6 million in AUM and average daily volume of 500 shares, according to Pimco's Web site." Delete "Portuguese" , insert "Greek" and BUND still remains a valid play.
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