Best Bets for a Euro Breakup

09/20/2011 10:18 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Thomas Aspray

, Professional Trader & Analyst

A breakup of the European Union could bring about good buying opportunities in select German equities that will prosper from the nation’s relative strength and financial stability.

Global markets seem to be factoring in a default by Greece, and many analysts are looking for a breakup of the European Union. Several analysts think we will end up with both a northern and southern Eurozone.

The overnight downgrade of Italy’s debt may add further pressure on the European Union, as Italy’s debt costs initially increased. Though I personally do not believe we will see a breakup of the European Union in the financial markets, anything is possible. Germany’s economy is in the best position to take advantage of a breakup and a new German deutschemark should have considerable investor appeal.

For those who are pessimistic about the fate of the European Union, an investment in a German company, ETF, or closed-end fund should make you well positioned.

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Chart Analysis: SAP AG (SAP) is a $60 billion German business software company whose main competitors are International Business Machines (IBM), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL). (Oracle is scheduled to report earnings after the close today.) SAP peaked at $68.39 at the end of April.

  • Last week, SAP made a low of $47.89 and has dropped almost 30% since the April highs
  • The 50% Fibonacci retracement support level was broken last week and the weekly uptrend, line a, is in the $46 area with the 61.8% level at $44.22
  • The weekly Starc- band is at $43.40
  • The weekly on-balance volume (OBV) has held up surprisingly well, as it is just slightly below its weighted moving average (WMA). The OBV staged a major breakout in early January, as it overcame resistance at line b
  • First resistance is now at $51.90 with further resistance at $53. There is stronger resistance in the $58-$60 area

Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. (FMS) is a $21 billion medical company that provides products and services for patients with chronic kidney diseases in Europe, as well as Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region.

  • FMS is down 12.8% from this year’s high at $80.08 and support at $64 from early in the year (line c) has been tested
  • The 38.2% Fibonacci retracement support stands at $62.40 and corresponds with the weekly uptrend, line d. The 50% retracement support is at $57.20
  • The weekly OBV is below its declining weighted moving average but is now testing long-term support at line e. The daily OBV (not shown) is trying to bottom out
  • There is minor resistance at $71.30 with much stronger resistance in the $73.40-$75 area

NEXT: 2 Top Funds for Investing in Germany

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The iShares MSCI Germany Index ETF (EWG) holds a broad portfolio of German stocks with $2.5 billion in assets. The fund’s largest holdings include:

  • Siemens AG (10.49%)
  • BASF SE (8.09%)
  • Bayer AG (6.58%)
  • SAP AG (6.20%)
  • Daimler AG (6.05%)
  • Allianz SE (5.78%)
  • E.ON AG (4.87%)
  • Deutsche Bank AG (4.66%)
  • Deutsche Telekom AG (4.39%)
  • Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (3.31%)

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  • I have featured a monthly chart of EWG because it places the decline from above $29 in May in a better perspective. Currently, EWG is trading below the monthly Starc- band
  • The weekly Starc- band is at $16 with the monthly uptrend, line a, in the $14.40 area. The 2009 lows were at $12.47
  • Volume over the past three months has been heavy and the OBV has dropped well below its weighted moving average
  • The weekly volume (not shown) is also negative and well below its WMA
  • There is initial resistance in the $21.30 area with the 50% retracement resistance level at $23.30

An alternative to EWG is the New Germany Fund (GF), a closed-end fund that invests primarily in small- and mid-cap German companies. It has a market cap of just $220 million and is rather thin, trading 45,000 shares a day, on average. It is trading at an 8.4% discount to its net asset value at $14.74.

  • GF reached a high of $18.90 in May and closed Monday at $13.54, which is a drop of 28.2% from the highs
  • The major 50% retracement support is at $12.15 with the lower Starc- band at $11.90
  • Key 61.8% support stands at $10.55 with the 2010 lows at $10.29
  • Weekly OBV is just slightly below its weighted moving average and holding well above its uptrend, line c. The daily OBV (not shown) is neutral
  • There is minor resistance now at $14.50 with retracement resistance between $15.20 and $15.90

What It Means: If there were to be a breakup of the European Union, the initial reaction to German equity prices may be negative, but this could create a good buying opportunity. From a technical standpoint, Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. (FMS) and New Germany Fund (GF) look the best, as both could already be close to bottoming.

If technology is going to lead prices into year-end, then SAP AG (SAP) should be a strong beneficiary. It is periodically mentioned as a potential acquisition target of Oracle (ORCL).

The iShares MSCI Germany Index ETF (EWG) looks the weakest and can often be more volatile because it has more public participation. Therefore, only look to buy EWG at major support.

How to Profit: For Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. (FMS), go long at $67.14 with a stop at $62.44 (risk of approx. 7%).

For New Germany Fund (GF), go long at $12.38 with a stop at $11.27 (risk of approx. 8.9%).

For SAP AG (SAP), go long at $47.54 with a stop at $45.66 (risk of approx. 4%).

For iShares MSCI Germany Index ETF (EWG), go long at $15.66 with a stop at $14.24 (risk of approx. 9.4%).

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