The European Central Bank couldn’t have made making money in European stocks any easier. Germany’s Dax Index (^GDAXI) is at a record and the Stoxx Europe 600 (STXX) is up 16% this year, powered by what has been months of QE transparency heading into the $ 60B+ a month bond buying program which began this month.
For WisdomTree (WETF) it has been a windfall. The shares have gained 35% this year due in part to the popularity of its marquee funds. The Europe Hedged Equity ETF (HEDJ), which tracks European equities while minimizing currency swings, has seen assets more than double to over $ 13B during the past year. “We have the strong dollar hurting Procter and Gamble (PG), Microsoft (MSFT), our U.S. exporters. Who’s benefiting? Unilever (UL), BMW (BMW.BE), Daimler Chrysler (DAI.DE) on the other side and they are cheaper,” says Jeremy Schwartz, director of research, WisdomTree.
Now the firm is hoping to mirror that success in small caps with the recently launched WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap ETF (EUSC). “It’s a more direct play on the European rebound,” according to Schwartz, “if you think that the ECB is going to be effective, that their QE program is going to ignite local growth in the European economy.” He adds that this fund puts you closer to the action because small cap companies are more dependent on the local economy for profits and sales.
Another reason European small companies look attractive: dividends. “The Russell 2000 – 1.2% dividend yield, these European small cap companies – 3.5%.” notes Schwartz.
- European Central Bank