ETFs For Greece's Possible Euro Departure (IEV, GREK, FXE)
Buy the rumor, sell the news. It's as familiar of a Wall Street adage as they come, but as it pertains to Europe today, Greece in particular, it might be a case of "sell the rumor and forget the news." That's after rumors resurfaced that Greece, the infamous "G" in the equally infamous PIIGS acronym, might depart the euro common currency.
The euro-sans-Greece rumor has been around for a while now and while breaking up is hard to, it might not be the worst thing for the remaining euro countries. As Jonathan Tepper of Variant Perception noted on CNBC's Web site "Astonishingly, almost all of the exits from a currency union have been associated with low macroeconomic volatility."
Said another way, the PIIGS have taken on such massive debt burdens that kicking one or more of the dubious quintet to the euro curb may not be the worst idea. Tepper goes on to say currency breakups aren't easy, but they are feasible. Along those lines there are certainly some ETFs worth watching should Greece eventually return to a devalued drachma.
Global X FTSE Greek 20 ETF (NYSE: GREK) Making money on Greece via the still new Global X FTSE Greek 20 ETF is difficult. That's not a swipe at the ETF, but the fund is still small (just under $3 million in AUM) and not too liquid (less than 11,000 shares per day in volume.)
The good news for those that dare be long GREK after the ETF has plunged 14% in the past month is that, according to Finviz data, GREK is not shortable. The bad news is that means there will be no short covering to possibly jolt GREK higher. Still, GREK could be a decent long-term play if Greece leaves the euro. Being long GREK is going to require a lot of patience, that much is clear.
CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSE: FXE) A combination of stating the obvious and being a tad adventurous leads one to the CurrencyShares Euro Trust. This isn't the day to be dancing with FXE from the long side, but there are perks to a multi-nation common currency expelling some of its weakest links and it's hard to imagine the euro would be worse off without Greece. Or just pass on FXE altogether and go with the ProShares UltraShort Euro (NYSE: EUO), an inverse play with an interesting chart.
iShares MSCI Spain Index Fund (NYSE: EWP) Um yeah, remember that budget Spain thought it could pass? Probably not going to happen. Yields on Spanish bonds are rising again and EWP is falling. The number 10 is important regarding Spain and yields. It's yields on Spanish 10-years that are rising and EWP's yield is approaching 10%.
Don't be fooled by the latter. We've predicted a rising yield for EWP in the past and been proven correct. This ETF is technically vulnerable. Fortunately, EWP is optionable and shortable.
iShares S&P Europe 350 Index Fund (NYSE: IEV) The iShares S&P Europe 350 Index Fund is one of those guilt by association plays Home to over 350 Europe-based stocks (not all are domiciled in Euro Zone countries), it's hard for this many stocks to all avoid the euro's calamity. IEV is getting hit today and is down over 3% in the past month.
The bear case here is that IEV devotes 18.5% of its sector weight to financials. The bull case is that excluding that group, IEV is home to a lot of high-quality, blue-chip names from the staples, energy, health care and telecom sectors. Consider this $1 billion ETF a hidden value if it can find support at its 200-day moving average.
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