2 Great European ETFs

08/03/2011 11:30 am EST


Rick Pendergraft

Chief Investment Strategist, Investor's Daily Edge

Because of the solid Greece debt-resolution deal and because the US can’t seem to get its act together to solve its own debt problem, European markets are likely to outperform the US in the coming months, writes Rick Pendergraft of Cabot Options Trader.

The recently approved bailout package for Greece took one concern off the table. On the other hand, the US could still face a debt downgrade because of the gridlock in Washington, or because the deal doesn’t do enough in the eyes of S&P and Moody’s.

This being said, I think the European markets will outperform US stocks over the short term.

For the most part, France and Germany worked out the deal that was struck among European countries. This transnational partnership was logical, because these two countries had the most exposure to Greek debt.

The deal also had a forward-looking provision that gives the European Financial Stability Facility permission to buy the bonds of other troubled countries and to extend credit to countries like Italy, Portugal, and Spain. This move should allow the European Central Bank the power to stave off any additional debt crises.

I’m not saying that Europe is completely out of the woods yet, but the provisions of the brokered deal on Greece have put Europe in a better position than it was just a few weeks ago. This leads me to my belief that Europe will outperform the US over the next few months.

Another factor buttressing my opinion: European markets didn’t rally as sharply as the S&P in the mid-June rally. As a result, European markets are closer to oversold than overbought, based on the weekly indicators.

Looking at the Vanguard European VIPERs ETF (VGK) as a barometer, we see that the fund recently bounced off its 52-week moving average and an upward sloped trendline connecting the lows from the spring of 2009 and the spring of 2010.

Yet another point that makes the VGK more attractive is the fact that it could rise another 38% before
encountering its high from the fall of 2007.

Looking at the S&P 500 SPDR (SPY) as a barometer for the US market, we see that the SPY is less than 10% from its 2007 high. It’s also worth noting that the overbought/oversold indicators are considerably higher for the SPY than they are for the VGK.

Also note that Europe’s agreement on a Greek bailout and the debt-ceiling battle in Washington has shifted sentiment.

Until the debt deal for Greece was complete, investors seemed to be shying away from European markets. Now that there is one less concern, we could see investors flock to these same markets. The protracted and bitter nature of negotiations in the US capital may disincline investors from rushing back.

With all of these things in mind, I look for the European markets as a whole to outperform the US market. VGK, along with the iShares S&P Europe 350 Index fund (IEV), are good ways to play Europe overall.

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