The CurrencyShares Euro Trust (FXE) is trading slightly lower Thursday after the European Central Bank did a whole lot of nothing following its policy meeting.
Still, ECB President Mario Draghi gave arguably his strongest hint to date that the ECB will engage in Federal Reserve-style bond purchases in an effort to shore up the Eurozone economy. FXE is up more than 6% over the past year, confirmation that the euro has remained stubbornly strong at a time when European exporters could benefit from a weaker currency. [Central Banks Could Affect High-Flying Euro]
Despite the euro’s strength, the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ) , the European equivalent of the wildly popular WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ) , is higher by nearly 4% this year. In fairness, that performance lags those turned by other well-known, diversified Europe ETFs that do not hedge currency exposure. And to be fair, HEDJ hit an all-time high Thursday.
But with the ECB hinting that quantitative easing may not be too far off, the utility of HEDJ and its hedged euro component increase. Some investors are already making that bet. Quiet as it has been kept, HEDJ recently entered the $1 billion in assets under management club, $1.06 billion to be precise, as the ETF has raked in $394.5 million in new assets this year. [A Europe ETF for Q2]
As a dedicated Eurozone ETF, HEDJ excludes Switzerland and the U.K. from its country lineup. As European stocks have recovered, along with German equities, the U.K. and Swiss stocks have been leaders. The lack of exposure to the U.K. and Switzerland has hampered HEDJ somewhat over the past two years, but the ETF has actually been noticeably less volatile than unhedged diversified Europe ETFs with heavy U.K. and Switzerland exposure.
With stocks in those two countries looking pricey relative to peripheral Europe. Many analysts predict that the European profit cycle still has room to expand, with European indices focused on small-caps still posting earnings about 60% below previous peaks, according to WisdomTree research. [Europe ETFs Pause, but Can Rise Again]