Market Overview

ETFs For A Possible Portugal Default


While European policymakers hem and haw, titillating investors with the prospects for a resolution to Greece's sovereign debt woes, there are other European problem children waiting in the wings and these days that means the "P" in PIIGS, aka Portugal.

While not great, the news surrounding Greece lately has been less bad lately and the Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK) is up almost 7% today on volume that is nearly six times the daily average. In other words, despite some controversy surrounding GREK there is at least a way to play Greece's trials and tribulations.

What about Portugal? Chances of Portuguese default are arguably decent and while not set in stone, the odds are probably higher than most would like to see. Put another way, it pays to be prepared and the following ETFs could be worth a look if Portugal edges closer to default territory.

Pimco Germany Bond Index Fund (NYSE: BUND) With an appropriate trading symbol, BUND could made an appearance on our list of best ETF tickers. Humor aside, 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.

iShares MSCI Italy Index Fund (NYSE: EWI) There's no getting around the fact that EWI is up almost 12% year-to-date. Time will tell if that's a dead-cat bounce or if a legitimate bottom has been established. Given that there is no Portugal-specific ETF on the market yet, traders may play the guilt by association card and hammer EWI on any bad news out of Portugal.

ProShares German Sovereign/Sub-Sovereign ETF (NYSE: GGOV) Another new, thinly traded German bond play, GGOV offers exposure to bonds issued by the German government as well as local municipalities in Germany. The fund has 33 components, with an average maturity of 5.53 years and an average coupon of 3.52%, according to ETF Trends.

Global X Norway ETF (NYSE: NORW) Or just about any Scandinavian ETF will do when you want to get away from the PIIGS' problems. NORW is still our preferred Norway ETF and that thesis has been validated with a 10% year-to-date pop. Other Scandinavian options to consider include the Global X FTSE Nordic Region ETF (NYSE: GXF), the iShares MSCI Index Fund (NYSE: EWD) and the newly-minted iShares MSCI Denmark Capped Investable Index Fund (BATS: EDEN).

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