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ECB Sticks to Plan, No Surprises: ETFs That Gained

Sanghamitra Saha
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As expected, the European Central Bank (ECB) remained moderately hawkish in its meeting held on Oct 25. While it stayed on the course of stimulus exit by the end of 2018, the bank also maintained its plans to keep the record low rates unchanged at least till mid-2019 (read: Winning & Losing ETFs After ECB's Dovish Exit Plans From QE).

The ECB also hinted at a potential uptick in inflation by the end of the year and further strength over the medium term. ECB President Mario Draghi added that upward inflation pressure is here to stay as wage increases were not transitory.

The euro was at session highs after Draghi made the inflation comment but slid soon after due to the budget squabble between Italy and the European Union. Notably, the European Commission recently disapproved Italy's draft budget for 2019, its first for a member state's proposed spending template.

Course of QE

The ECB launched its asset-buying program at the start of 2015 and at the end of the year, the bank extended the program to March 2017. Then the bank announced in December 2016 that it would lower its bond-buying program to 60 billion euros a month from 80 billion from April but extended the program to December 2017.

Again, in October 2017, the ECB extended its asset-purchase program through September 2018 at a reduced rate of €30 billion. Those purchases have been reduced to €15 billion in the final quarter of 2018.

Dull Growth Picture

Per IHS Markit data, the euro zone expanded at its slowest rate for over two years in October. The composite output index fell to 52.7 from 54.1 in September, missing the expectations of 53.9. A reading above 50 hints at growth. Though the ECB sees growth risk “broadly balanced,” “risks related to protectionism, vulnerabilities in emerging markets and financial market volatility remain prominent.” There is also the risk of a hard Brexit.

What Lies Ahead?

Against this sluggish backdrop, one can expect the possibility of rate hikes is no near-term possibility and some few more days of easy money era are available. However, with the U.S. dollar gaining strength, currency-hedged ETFs should be in favorable positions.

Below we highlight a few Europe ETFs that gained post the ECB meeting on Oct 25. Investors should also note that after a panic-driven selling on Oct 24, Wall Street rebounded the next day on bargain hopes. This resurgence energized global markets and played roles in pushing European shares higher.

ETFs That Rallied on Oct 25

Wisdomtree Germany Hedged Equity Fund DXGE — Up 2.59%

G-X FTSE Greece 20 ETF GREK — Up 2.40%

Xtrackers MSCI Eurozone Hedged Equity ETF DBEZ — Up 2.22%

Italy iShares MSCI ETF EWI — Up 2.09%

iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Eurozone ETF HEZU — Up 2.00%

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DEUTS-XT MS EMU (DBEZ): ETF Research Reports
 
WISDMTR-GER HEF (DXGE): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-CH MS EM (HEZU): ETF Research Reports
 
GLBL-X/F GREC20 (GREK): ETF Research Reports
 
ISHARS-ITALY (EWI): ETF Research Reports
 
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