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10 Top Europe ETF Picks for 2013


Metaphors involving rising from the ashes would be appropriate ways to describe the manner in which many Europe funds have acted this year.

iShares MSCI Switzerland Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWL)

As has been the case with the Nordic ETFs, the iShares MSCI Switzerland Index Fund provided some nice non-Eurozone shelter for investors in 2012 as the fund gained nearly 20 percent. Despite what many know of Switzerland's status as a banking hub, financials are the third-largest sector weight in this ETF, not the largest.

On a related note, if EWK is a one-stock pony, than investors need to be aware that Nestle (PINK:NSRGY), Novartis (NYSE:NVS) and Roche combine for over 48 percent of EWL's weight.

Those looking for a bit more diversity at the stock level can consider the First Trust Switzerland AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEARCA:FSZ), which has gained 10 percent in the past 90 days.

iShares MSCI Austria Investable Market Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWO)

The lone Austria ETF is 22.5 percent this year and with a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.34 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.51, the ETF is cheaper by those metrics than the comparable France ETF. On the other hand, Austria should be inexpensive because its economy is offering little in the way of growth.

The Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Austria's central bank, last week pared its 2012 GDP growth forecast to 0.4 percent from a previous estimate of 0.9 percent. For 2013, the estimate was slashed to growth of 0.5 percent from a the prior estimate of 1.7 percent.

WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Index Fund (NYSEARCA:HEDJ)

The WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Index Fund might be one of the better new ETFs a lot of folks have not heard about. That is because HEDJ is not a new ETF by the standard definition. Rather, it is an old ETF with a new twist.

Actually, it is new "twists." Earlier this year, WisdomTree dramatically reduced HEDJ's exposure to bank stocks, eliminated 12 currencies from the ETF's lineup while increasing the ETF's allocations to European dividend-payers that derive the bulk of their sales from outside of the Eurozone. HEDJ debuted in its new form on August 30. Since then, the ETF has gained 8.3 percent.

PowerShares BLDRS Europe Select ADR Index Fund (NASDAQ:ADRU)

The BLDRS Europe Select ADR Index Fund may not be a household name among Europe ETFs, but the fund is up 15 percent this year. Chances are investors are familiar with at least a few of ADRU's holdings because all 83 of them trade in the U.S. Top-10 holdings include Novartis, BP (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A).

Health care and staples names combine for 31 percent of ADRU's weight, but financials and energy stocks combine for almost 39 percent. That gives this ETF plenty of risk on feel to it. ADRU's average daily volume, or lack thereof, could be a turnoff for some, but remember most of this ETF's holdings are heavily traded on U.S. exchanges. Those factors should provide for decent liquidity and tolerable bid/ask spreads.

iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund (NYSEARCA:EWG)

There is no point in ignoring the 800-pound gorilla in the room. The room being the eurozone economy and the gorilla being Germany. In recent days, the Eurozone's largest economy has been home to a spate of mixed economic data points. Last week, the Bundesbank forecast German GDP growth in 2013 of just 0.4 percent, down from an estimate of 1.6 percent in June.

The central bank has also warned about another German recession. On the other hand, German exports rose slightly in October. As is often seen with many ETFs focusing on Europe, the bull case for the iShares MSCI Germany Index Fund involves a lot of "ifs." In this case, the ifs are if emerging markets such as China rebound and if German GDP growth could surprise to the upside, EWG might be able to build on its 27.2 percent gain to this point in 2012 next year.

All of those sentiments can be applied to the Market Vectors Germany Small-Cap ETF (NYSE:GERJ) as well. Actually, the biggest concern is Germany's ability to dodge another recession. Most of the respondents in a recent Bloomberg survey do not think Germany can do that.

Editor's Note: This content was originally published on by The ETF Professor.

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Twitter: @Benzinga

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