Famed emerging markets investor Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Franklin Templeton’s Templeton Emerging Markets Group, is warming to Greek equities even after the benchmark Athens index, the ASE Composite Index, has surged 50% since July.
Mobius, who manages more than $40 billion, said he is particularly interested in Greek bank shares, which he said should benefit from a broader economic improvement, reports Tommy Stubbington for the Wall Street Journal.
Interest in Greek banks has been rising among noteworthy professional investors. Earlier this month, John Paulson, who made winning bets on the sub-mortgage crisis and subsequent rebound in U.S. bank stocks, said his fund had substantial stakes in Piraeus Bank and Alpha Bank. [Hedge Funds Indirectly Love Greece ETF]
Paulson’s move into Piraeus and Alpha became public just a few months after David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital revealed “medium-sized long positions” in those banks. News of Einhorn’s stakes in Greek banks was publicized in late July.
Baupost, Eaglevale, Dromeus Capital, Falcon Edge, York Capital and Och-Ziff are among the other hedge funds that are reportedly making large bets on Greek banks.
Financial services is GREK’s second-largest sector weight at 15.3%. Mobius also said he likes Greek manufacturers. Industrial, aluminum and transportation firms combine for about 10% of the ETF’s weight. National Bank of Greece (NBG) and Alpha Bank are GREK’s fourth- and fifth-largest holdings, respectively.
As for why Mobius, a legendary emerging markets investors, is even eyeing Greece, the country is now an emerging market. Earlier this year index providers Russell Investments and MSCI demoted Greece to emerging markets status from developed markets territory. Greece will join the MSCI Emerging Markets Index next year. [Another Index Provider Sends Greece to Emerging Markets Status]
Global X FTSE Greece 20 ETF