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Canada ETFs Showing Promise

Don Dion

08/31/11 - 06:00 AM EDT

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- This week will be a busy one for the Canadian financial industry as institutions such as Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM) and Toronto-Dominion (TD) step up to the plate to report their quarterly earnings numbers. Already, investors have received ample insight into the state of this sector; on Tuesday morning, Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) released estimate-beating numbers. Among the positive stats highlighted in this report was an 18% increase in third-quarter profits.

The Wall Street Journal points out that prior to this week, Royal Bank of Canada (RY), Bank of Montreal (BMO) and National Bank of Canada had released their own quarterly performance reports.

In the past, I have highlighted iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund (EWC) as being an attractive option for investors looking for a safe way to add some international exposure to a well-balanced portfolio. Although macroeconomic turmoil facing much of the developed world including the U.S. and EU has weighed heavily on confidence over the past month, Canada has managed to buck the trend and stand out as a beacon of strength.

In response, the EWC has witnessed relative stability. In the face of daunting adversity the fund managed to ascend in both our short and long term momentum rankings.

Although it is structured to track the broad Canadian markets, EWC dedicates its largest sector slice to the financials. This region accounts for nearly one-third of the fund's total assets.

While, from an earnings perspective, the next few days will likely prove exciting for EWC, promising strength could be in store for our Northern neighbor over a longer time frame as well. Therefore beyond this week, I encourage investors to continue to keep EWC and other Canada-focused ETFs on the watch list.

Boasting ample energy and natural resource reserves, Canada is an important player in the global commodities industry. In the past, the nation's Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty has boldly identified Canada as an, "emerging energy superpower."

Canada appears to be in a strong position to benefit when macro turmoil eventually subsides and global markets regain their footing and return to the healing path. Taking the nation's expansive resources into consideration, EWC allocates nearly 50% of its portfolio across the energy and materials sectors. Companies including Suncor Energy (SU) and Potash of Saskatchewan (POT) can be found among the fund's top ten positions.

Though a riskier option than EWC, the Guggenheim Canadian Energy Income ETF (ENY) may be another attractive option for investors looking to home in on the nation's commodities industry. Unlike EWC, which casts a wide net over the Great White North, ENY specifically targets high yielding energy companies and oil sands players in an effort to profit as countries turn to Canada to fuel their growth. In addition, the fund offers an attractive yield, making it appealing to the income-minded crowd as well.

Given the economic hurdles we have faced throughout the past month, it is understandable that investors are hesitant toward the idea of venturing into international markets. Canada, however, is an example of a country that could hold promise in the near and midterm. With funds like EWC and ENY, it is possible to gain exposure that satisfies seemingly any level of risk tolerance.

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