One of the more obvious themes in the world of exchange traded funds this year is investors' overt preference for low-cost, ex-U.S. developed markets equity funds. Several of this year's top asset-gathering ETFs are broad developed markets funds that feature exposure to Asia-Pacific and Europe, but some dedicated Europe ETFs are packing on the assets as well.
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Investors have had good reasons to consider ETFs such as the iShares Core MSCI Europe ETF (IEUR). After years of lagging major U.S. equity benchmarks, European stocks are not only attractively valued relative to their U.S. counterparts, but they are outperforming as well. For example, IEUR is up nearly 25 percent year-to-date while the S&P 500 is higher by 16.4 percent.
While the U.S. bull market is believed to be in its later innings, market observers believe Europe's resurgence is just getting started, a sentiment that could bode well for IEUR in 2018.
Welcome To The Party
The sentiment that 2018 could bring more upside for European equities and the related equities is common on Wall Street. Importantly, Europe's fundamentals are cooperating.
"Despite recent headline noise around Spain, and stubbornly low inflation, we believe the rally in Europe, which has outperformed other developed markets this year, still has legs, BlackRock saidin a recent note. We remain positive on European equities against a backdrop of sustained, above-trend economic expansion and a steady earnings outlook. ETP flows have been strong this year but still well short of 2016 outflows, suggesting the trade is not yet 'crowded.'
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IEUR holds 1,000 stocks and fits the bill as inexpensive, with an annual expense ratio of just 0.1 percent or $10 on a $10,000 investment.
IEUR is a broad Europe ETF featuring exposure to countries that are members of the Eurozone and those that are not. For example, IEUR allocates almost 40 percent of its combined weight to the U.K. and Switzerland, which are not Eurozone members. France and Germany, the Eurozone's two biggest economies, combine for over 30 percent of the fund's weight. The aforementioned Spain is just 5 percent of IEUR's roster.
Investors are displaying obvious enthusiasm for IEUR. The ETF has $2.6 billion in assets under management, over a third of which has flowed into the fund just this year.
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