Sweta Killa: The Euro zone has seen modest GDP growth for another quarter, accelerating 0.3% in Q4, on the heels of rising exports and investments. This marks an improvement from the previous quarter’s growth of 0.1% and indicates that the worst might be over for this region.
Slovenia led the way for Q4 growth at 1.2%, followed by the two largest economies – Germany and France – which expanded 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively.
Manufacturing and service activity, as depicted by Markit’s Flash Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers Index, rose to 53.3 in February from 52.9 in January. This marks the fastest growth in nearly three years. Unemployment across the Euro zone remained unchanged at the near-record high of 12%.
Inflation has stabilized over the past three months at 0.8% but is much below the European Central Bank (ECB) target of under 2.0%. Though this reflects a prolonged period of low inflation, it reduces fears of the deflationary conditions.
However, consumer confidence in the region unexpectedly dropped to -12.7 in February from -11.7 in January, as per the flash estimate by the European Commission. This represents the first decline in three months.
All the data indicates to a slow but steady recovery for the single currency bloc. The European Commission last month raised the Euro zone’s GDP growth outlook from 1.1% to 1.2% for this year. Most of the growth will likely come from Germany (1.8%), France (1%) and Italy (0.6%) (read: Ride Europe Higher with This Top Ranked ETF).
Driven by optimism in the Euro zone recovery, the ECB kept its rate unchanged at 0.25% last week. The news propelled the European stocks higher and strengthened the euro against the basket of major currencies. As a result, the ETFs tracking these countries are also riding high.
Below, we have highlighted three ETFs that gained near double digits over the trailing one-month and are crushing the Euro zone competition.
iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF (NYSEARCA:EIRL)
This fund provides exposure to Irish stocks by tracking the MSCI All Ireland Capped Index and has accumulated $162.5 million in AUM. It charges 48 bps in fees per year from investors and trades in low average daily volume of less than 42,000 shares. The fund holds 24 securities with heavy concentration in the top three firms – CRH Plc, Kerry Group and Bank of Ireland – as these make up for a combined 44% of assets.