As the United States gets ready to take on Belgium in the knock out round of the World Cup; investors can set their sights on investment opportunities in this small European nation.
The Kingdom of Belgium is a founding member of the European Union and has a population of approximately 11 million people. In addition, this country hosts the EU headquarters and other important international organizations such as NATO.
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From an investment perspective, the single exchange-traded fund dedicated to this countrys cause is the iShares MSCI Belgium Capped ETF (NYSE:EWK).
This ETF currently has over $85 million allocated to 43 stocks, with the largest holding being the well-known brewing company Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE:BUD).
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In fact, Anheuser-Busch makes up over 23 percent of the total EWK portfolio and has a significant pull on the total return of the fund.
The current expense ratio of EWK is listed at 0.48 percent and it has a healthy 12-month trailing yield of 4.30 percent. Dividends are paid bi-annually to shareholders in June and December.
Through the first half of the year, EWK has risen 6.48 percent and bested many of its European competitors.
The broader iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSE:EZU) and SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (NYSE:FEZ) both have just over three percent exposure to Belgium within their Euro-zone indexes.
These ETFs have only posted gains of 4.24 and 5.01 percent, respectively over that same time frame.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has certainly been a big contributor to the outperformance in EWK, as this beer maker has jumped more than nine percent in 2014 and is currently sitting near all-time highs.
A further broadening in European recovery efforts and central bank stimulus may well lead to Belgium stocks continuing the pace of growth throughout the remainder of the year.
An increase in global alcohol consumption as a result of World Cup frenzy could certainly benefit this Belgium ETF as well.
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