Buy Ireland ETF for a Green Portfolio on St Patricks Day - ETF News And Commentary

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Among the top performers in the European space is the Ireland ETF, which had returned a whopping 47% over the past one year and 12% in the year-to-date time fame. The surge came as global investors continued to pour money into the economy and the Euro zone saw a modest recovery.

The rising streak is like to continue with St. Patrick's Day just two trading sessions away. The holiday is mostly associated with parades, wearing green and drinking. Investors too can't miss the green in the equity markets on St. Patrick's Day which has a track record of pushing the stock markets higher. This is mostly because investors want more green in their portfolio and are in the mood to spend for some luck on St. Patrick's Day (see: all the European ETFs here ).

Further, an improving economy, increasing consumer confidence, falling unemployment, reviving domestic demand and rising exports amid high public debt in Ireland, inject optimism into the Irish ETF.

Bright Outlook

The Irish economy has emerged a stronger nation among the PIIGS members and was the first Euro nation to exit from the bailout program smoothly last December (read: End of Bailout Puts Ireland ETF in Focus ).

Recent consumer sentiment survey has been positive as the KBC Ireland/ESRI Consumer Sentiment Index rose to a seven-year high to 85.5 in February from 84.6 in January and 59.4 in the year-ago month. The manufacturing sector has also grown for the ninth consecutive month as depicted by the Investec's monthly Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which stood at 52.9 in February, slightly up from 52.8 in January.

Unemployment dropped to the lowest level in almost five years at 11.9% in February from 12% in January and 13.8% in the year-ago month. The strong data points to a huge turnaround in economic growth, raising investor confidence and improving job market.

The economy is expected to have grown 0.4% in the final quarter of 2013 and will likely see more robust growth this year. As per the European Commission, Irish GDP growth will likely expand 1.8% this year, well above the Euro zone growth prediction of 1.2% (read: 3 ETFs Crushing Eurozone Competition ).

Moreover, Ireland is rated investment grade by all of the major credit rating agencies, citing the country's growth potential. Given encouraging trends, the Ireland ETF - iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF ( EIRL ) - is expected to outperform in the coming months and be in focus on the event of St. Patrick's Day.

EIRL in Focus

The fund tracks the MSCI All Ireland Capped Index and provides exposure to a small basket of 24 Irish stocks. The product is heavily concentrated on its top firm - CRH Plc - that alone accounts for more than one-fifth share in the basket while the next two firms - Kerry Group and Bank of Ireland - make up for double-digit exposure. Other firms hold less than 4.6% of assets.

From a sector look, materials and consumer staples take the top two spots at 25% each, followed by industrials (20.5%) and financials (14%). The ETF accumulated about $167 million in its asset base and sees pretty low volume of around 41,000 shares a day. It charges 48 bps in fees per year from investors and has a Zacks ETF Rank of 2 or 'Buy' rating (read: Euro Zone Recovery Puts Ireland ETF in Focus ).

Bottom Line

Given the promising macro trends, investors should definitely try this Ireland ETF for some hidden luck. This fund is often considered a better choice than the other European funds to play the upcoming surge resulting from St. Patrick's Day and the bullish outlook of the economy.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , ETFs

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