Europe is in the news again—and for good reason
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Director of Research
We feel investors could benefit by including exposure to European equities in a diversified portfolio over the long term. With potential economic green shoots perking up in the European landscape, the time could be ripe to consider the tools and options available across European equity indexes.
2013 marked a particularly strong year for equities in the developed international space, which, along with the United States, led the charge among global equity markets. Numerous macroeconomic tailwinds buoyed sentiment surrounding the developed international markets, including the eurozone returning to positive growth in the second quarter of 2013 and the Bank of Japan delivering bold monetary targets, reflecting overall accommodative monetary policies from central banks.
Each year, WisdomTree believes it is important to reset Index weights and exposures away from what has been driven by share price performance and toward what has actually occurred in terms of fundamentals. The following analysis focuses on the WisdomTree Europe Indexes, especially in the small-cap segment.
The WisdomTree annual rebalance is a key element of the added value of WisdomTree’s Index methodology. We interpret Japan’s current valuations and double-digit dividend growth as a very positive indicator of underlying market fundamentals. We believe these fundamentals, coupled with the ongoing third-arrow reforms, should help provide a notable foundation for potential future gains.
WisdomTree has one of the broadest sets of Indexes focused on international equities that are not weighted by market capitalization. In essence, we are looking to illustrate how these Indexes with at least five years of performance history were exposed to various factors.
Recently, European markets have performed strongly, with investors focusing on the economic recovery that has been building momentum. It is becoming difficult to remember that a few short years ago there was widespread debate about whether the European Monetary Union (EMU) would continue to exist.
A wide array of strategies are starting to have live performance histories greater than five years, making them eligible for consideration across a broader clientele. What are these various smart beta index strategies really doing when one looks under the hood?
When investors think of dividends, they tend to think of mature large-cap companies as the primary source, and as a result, we feel that many investors mistakenly overlook potentially attractive income options. Here we will discuss one segment of the market that often gets overlooked in the hunt for income-producing asset classes—mid- and small-cap dividend payers.
WisdomTree has compiled a Japan Strategist roundtable—a compilation of views from three of the most widely followed Japan investment strategists. In separate one-on-one interviews, we asked these strategists to share their views on Japan’s equity markets, the economy, government initiatives and the currency.
WisdomTree conducts the annual rebalance of its U.S. Dividend Index family in December, with the annual screening date occurring on the last trading day of every November. This rebalance provides a plethora of data about how dividends for the U.S. equity markets have changed over time.
The market environment is always changing, with some years notable for their performance extremes. The November 30, 2012, to November 30, 2013, period was quite strong, and we believe that it could be beneficial to take some chips off the table redeploying them into areas that may not have performed as strongly.
Since prime minister Shinzo Abe’s election on December 16, 2012, investors have embraced the economic resurrection plan being referred to as “Abenomics,” sending Japanese stocks higher and the yen lower. A critical aspect of Abe’s plan is to extinguish the deflationary forces that have gripped Japan’s economy for the last 15 years. In light of the committed pursuit of Abenomics, we believe there are three important trends investors should be positioning for.
Europe’s economy experienced six straight quarters of negative economic growth—or contraction—before returning to a positive growth rate—or expansion—in the second quarter of 2013. The recovery in Europe has been supported by accommodative monetary policy, low inflation and a moderation in fiscal austerity. Consumer spending has improved, and manufacturing surveys are pointing toward expansion. This stabilization of the European economy is encouraging, and many have begun to look for investment opportunities arising from this nascent recovery.
In this market insight, we highlight the recent performance of the small-capitalization market around the globe and discuss important considerations for further allocations from today’s levels. Adding exposure to small caps can offer increased diversification and return potential, but there are critical differences in investment strategies.
Amid the noise of recent central bank activity, WisdomTree rebalanced its India Earnings Index on September 20—the same day the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) held his first policy meeting and two days after the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) announced its monetary policy decision. The timing of this Index rebalance and the RBI meeting was a coincidence—the Index rebalance occurs the same time every September.
One of the major themes that we believe will drive much of the global economy over the coming years is the rise in potential growth from emerging market (EM) consumers. In this Market Insight, we will discuss the key trends in the growth of the emerging market consumer and discuss the new Index we have created and how it is positioned in comparison to traditional emerging market equity indexes.
Lately all eyes have been focused on the Federal Reserve (Fed) and its accommodative monetary policies. Since the 2008–09 global financial crisis, the Fed and central banks around the world have embraced policies to provide ample liquidity to the markets with the goal of keeping interest rates low and credit flowing. However, as the U.S. economy improves, one must consider the possibility of the Fed ending the extraordinary measures it has been taking. Starting in May this year, on just a hint of the Fed possibly dialing back its bond purchases, longer-term interest rates in the U.S. rose considerably.
When looking at some of the broad emerging market indexes or even indexes that focus on valuation criteria for the emerging markets, you’ll find them to be among the least expensive parts of the global equity markets today. But not all indexes, sectors or countries share those same low valuations, so we will explore the areas where the valuation opportunity may receive the highest emphasis.
Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the Funds before investing. To obtain a prospectus containing this and other important information, please call 1-866-909-WISE (9473) or click here to view or download a prospectus online. Read the prospectus carefully before you invest. There are risks involved with investing including the possible loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
There are risks associated with investing, including possible loss of principal. Foreign investing involves currency, political and economic risk. Funds focusing on a single country, sector and/or funds that emphasize investments in smaller companies may experience greater price volatility. Investments in emerging markets, real estate, currency, fixed income and alternative investments include additional risks. Due to the investment strategy of certain Funds, they may make higher capital gain distributions than other ETFs. Please see prospectus for discussion of risks.
Jeremy Schwartz is a registered representative of ALPS Distributors, Inc.
WisdomTree Funds are distributed by ALPS Distributors Inc.