Banking on Canada

Published 5/23/2011 12:53 p.m. EDT

As Canadians take a break for Victory Day today, U.S. investors are growing increasingly nervous about debt problems overseas. European downgrades and fears are once again dominating the headlines, causing many investors to stick to the sidelines.

Today's a good day to look abroad, however, and to not limit your sights to Europe. Our neighbors to the North might be kicking back today, but upcoming Canadian earnings and ongoing Canadian strength continue to make the iShares MSCI Canada Index Fund ( EWC) a potentially potent investment.

EWC, one of the largest and most well-known Canada-based equity ETFs, gained more than 1.5% last week, while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust ( SPY) finished the same period in negative territory. While most readers are already aware of Canada's abundant natural resources, another plus for short-term EWC buyers is the fund's exposure to the Canadian financial sector.

In the next two weeks, Canada's six largest banks -- Royal Bank of Canada ( RY), Toronto-Dominion ( TD), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ( CM), Bank of Montreal ( BMO), National Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia ( BNS) -- will be reporting earnings. All six of the aforementioned banks are included in EWC's underlying portfolio.

The recent appreciation of the Canadian dollar has certainly helped matters from the standpoint of EWC methodology. (EWC's currency exposure is unhedged.)

As our neighbors to the north celebrate the birthday of one of their most memorable queens, consider scooping up shares of EWC today as the fund gets dragged down, pinned to U.S. markets and projection. As Queen Victoria herself famously noted: "We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist."

At the time of publication, Dion Money Management had no positions in the stocks mentioned.
At the time of publication, Dion Money Management held no positions in the equities mentioned.

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