GLOBAL

Europe may not come to mind when you think dividends, but some exchange-traded funds are finding bargains in the rubble, says Jim Lowell of Forbes ETF Advisor.

The first quarter of 2011 was remarkable in terms of the scope and scale of natural and manmade disasters, any one of which would typically have been forecast to derail both the economic and market recoveries. Yet, the markets trended toward climbing each wall of worry well.

The second quarter of 2011 did not. As supply-side issues from the prior quarters’ disasters converged with spiking food and energy prices, as well as escalating Eurozone and geopolitical tensions, the markets slid.

But as they slid, peak commodity prices backed down; oil ended the quarter at a 4 month low, while gold nicked back to a peak set 5 weeks back. And, as I have said before, I think that as higher commodity prices tend to beget lower ones, so lower stock prices tend to beget higher ones.

One ETF that continues to dominate the international camp, PowerShares International Dividend Achievers (PID), stays while Europe 2001 HOLDRS (EKH) flipped for Spain. The iShares MSCI EAFE Value (EFV) remains.

What is remarkable to me about these funds is their ability to push past other growth regions in a bid for bargains in Europe’s basement. Gold continues to hold its own, despite my fundamental interest in other sector picks.

iShares COMEX Gold (IAU)
This ETF benchmarks to the actual price of gold. The trust’s objective is for the share price to represent the price of gold held by the trust at a certain time, minus the trust’s expenses.

It began trading in January 2005 and has a market value of over $7 billion. While Global Quant continues to like it, I continue to find little fundamental evidence to support it.

iShares MSCI EAFE Value (EFV)
The MSCI EAFE Value Index underlies this ETF that began trading in August 2005. Its market value of over $1.4 billion makes it liquid, but watch worthy.

The top three sectors are financials (34.8%), energy (12%), and health care (10%). The top five countries are Japan (19.7%), UK (18.7%), France (12%), Germany (9.3%), and Australia (8.5%).

iShares MSCI Spain (EWP)
In my opinion, if Spain goes, the Eurozone goes. It’s too big to fail, and too big to bail out.

EWP seeks investment results that correspond to the price and yield performance of the MSCI Spain Index. It began trading in March 1996 and has a market value of over $220 million.

The top three sectors are financials (42.5%), telecommunications services (18.3%), and utilities (14.7%).

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Tickers Mentioned: Tickers: PID, EKH, EFV, IAU, EWP