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Talking Numbers

While the US benchmark’s ETF struggled in August, some European ones had a great month. Is it a sign of things to come?

US markets are up this year but some American investors investing across the Atlantic in hopes of getting better returns or, at least, diversifying their portfolio.

According to Goldman Sachs, more American money has gone to European stocks than any time since 1977. In the first half of this year, $65 billion from the US were invested in European equities.

(Watch: Europe shares close slightly higher)

To be sure, some of the major European indices have underperformed the US benchmark S&P 500 so far in 2013.

Index Returns in 2013
S&P 500 (US) 18.4%
Dow Jones Euro Stoxx Index (in euro terms) 8.6%
CAC 40 (France) 13.1%
FTSE 100 (UK) 11.7%
Xetra Dax (Germany) 11.6%
Amsterdam AEX (Netherlands) 9.4%

Meanwhile, August was a tough month for many exchange-traded funds (ETFs). As a whole, they saw more than $17 billion in net outflows last month, the largest in the industry’s two-decade history. The lion’s share of that was from the world’s largest ETF, the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) – it had $14 billion in outflows as it fell 2.9% in August.

(Read: Stocks close near highs, S&P 500 logs 7-day rally)

Of course, not all ETFs were down. Some of the bigger ones to see net inflows were those that invested in Europe. According to Zacks Investment Research, these ETFs saw the following inflows:

ETF August inflow
Vanguard FTSE Europe (VGK) $1.5 billion
iShares MCI EMU (EZU) $970 million
iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) $850 million
FTSE Developed Markets (VEA) $570 million

So, should your money set sail for Europe?

Looking at the fundamentals is John Stephenson, portfolio manager at First Asset Investment Management. Checking the charts on VGK is Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson.

Is Europe the way to go? Watch Watch the video above to see analyses by Stephenson and Ross to help you decide.

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