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Best And Worst Europe ETFs So Far In 2015

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Best And Worst Europe ETFs So Far In 2015

The European Union is made up of 28 individual countries, nearly all but a handful of which are represented through single country exchange-traded funds.

Analyzing the individual components of this group can better understand the areas of strength or weakness and how they match up in terms of total contribution. Many of the names at the top and bottom of this list offer surprising insight into the European economic sphere.

As a whole, the European theme has been a strong one this year in comparison to U.S. stocks. The Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK) is a well-known benchmark of this region and has gained over 7 percent so far in 2015. That return easily bests the 2.5 percent advance in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSE: SPY).

Breaking down the individual components, the top performing country this year has been the iShares MSCI Denmark Capped ETF (EDEN), which has jumped 17 percent. Denmark is considered a medium-sized component of the European Union and currently represents just 2.6 percent of VGK.

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Nevertheless, this ETF has continued to show strong relative momentum and just recently broke out to new 52-week highs. EDEN tracks 40 companies domiciled in or having a significant portion of their business in Denmark and has $62 million in total assets.

The second-best performing country in Europe this year has been the iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF (NYSE: EIRL). This Ireland stock index has gained more than 12 percent, yet only represents 0.40 percent of the country allocation in VGK.

On the flip side, the worst performing country has been the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK), which has fallen over 26 percent this year. Greece has been plagued by a tremendous debt burden and consistent economic woes that threaten to overwhelm this tiny nation.

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Nevertheless, ETF investors have poured nearly $175 million into GREK so far this year in an obvious attempt to capitalize on a return to Greek prosperity. This nation represents just 0.1 percent of the total country allocation within VGK as a result of shrinking market cap woes.

Greece is the only single country European ETF with negative returns this year, although the iShares MSCI Poland Capped ETF (NYSE: EPOL) is the next worst performer on the list with a timid 4 percent gain.

It will be interesting to see if Greece can pull itself out of the cellar and race to catch up with its strongly trending peers for the remainder of 2015.

 

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