By Kevin Grewal, editorial director at www.SmartStops.net
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As strength in export growth and the euro help Europe into an economic recovery, many investors are turning their attention to the continent.
Growth in Germany and France, two of the largest economies in Europe, helped the Eurozone post a 0.4% GDP growth in the third quarter of 2009 and paved the path to similar growth for the remainder of the year. Additionally, European economies are benefiting from tight monetary policies and favorable projections in corporate earnings growth. Lastly, Europe offers investors the ability to diversify by gaining international exposure while reaping the benefits of investing in developed nations.
Although Europe seems to be positioned to emerge out of the global recession, it is equally important to keep in mind that unemployment rates in certain parts of the region are north of 10%, the European credit markets are still relatively tight and wages have remained flat. To add to these woes, governments in some parts of the region like Greece have overspent, which has some speculating that deflation may arise.The easiest way to access Europe and potentially capitalize from its benefits is through the following ETFs:
Vanguard European Stock ETF
(VGK), which carries an expense ratio of 0.12%, holds a blend of 500 large-cap stocks and gives broad-based exposure to the region;
iShares MSCI EMU Index
(EZU), which carries an expense ratio of 0.52%, is heavily concentrated in France and Germany and focuses on large-cap value-oriented stocks;
WisdomTree Europe Dividend ETF
(DEB), which carries an expense ratio of 0.48%, holds 220 stocks and focuses on dividend-paying companies enabling it to carry a yield of 8.09%.