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European ETFs Offer Muted Reaction To ECB Quantitative Easing

The announcement Thursday by the European Central Bank that it would fight deflation with a U.S.-style quantitative easing program was met with a lukewarm response throughout the international marketplace.

Related Link: European Markets In For A Roller-Coaster Weekend

Broad: European ETF

Signs of strength in Europe have been percolating for weeks now as the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSE: VGK ) has gained more than 6 percent from its early January low. This may have been largely fueled by rumors over the quantitative easing program, which drove international markets higher in anticipation of these efforts.

Despite today's confirmation, the majority of single-country ETFs that track European markets are largely flat or showing uncharacteristic signs of dismissal.

Single Country: German ETF

The iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund ( ETF ) (NYSE: EWG ) is one the more closely watched countries, because of its historical penchant for fiscal conservancy. EWG has nearly $5 billion dedicated to tracking 59 large- and mid-cap companies in Germany . This ETF traded near the flat line for the majority of the day after the ECB announcement.

Single Country: Spanish ETF

The iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF (NYSE: EWP ) fared slightly better with a small gain on the day that grew increasingly larger as U.S. markets buoyed hope for global inflation. EWP has over $1.3 billion invested in just 29 companies domiciled in Spain.

Germany makes up 13.7 percent of the underlying asset allocation of the broad-based VGK, while Spain represents 5.3 percent.

Bullish US Dollar ETF vs. Guggenheim Euro ETF

The strength of the PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bullish (NYSE: UUP ) and concomitant drop in the Guggenheim CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSE: FXE ) to new 52-week highs and lows respectively also played a role in these international markets.

A falling euro is a headwind for international investments that are domiciled in U.S. dollars, which is how these traditional ETFs are structured. To combat those currency concerns, many investors may now be turning to currency-hedged funds in order to reduce or eliminate this risk.

International Currency Hedged Fund

The WisdomTree Inter Hedged Eq Fund (NYSE: HEDJ ) is a popular currency hedged offering that has swelled to nearly $7 billion in total assets. This ETF owns a basket of European equities along with short positions in the euro.

© 2015 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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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 Nasdaq, Inc.


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

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