The Eurozone economy grew 1.2% year over year in the first quarter of 2019, the same clip as in the previous three-month period and slightly above market expectations of 1.1%. Sequentially, the Eurozone grew 0.4% in the three months through March 2019, accelerating from 0.2% expansion in the fourth quarter of 2018 and 0.1% in the third. The number is beating market expectations of 0.3%.
Among countries for which GDP data is already available, Spain's economy expanded by a steeper-than-expected 0.7% in the first quarter of 2019, faster than 0.6% in the previous three-month period, on the back of a rebound in fixed investment, per tradingeconomics.
Meanwhile, French GDP expansion was unchanged at 0.3% and growth slowed for Austria to 0.3% from 0.4%. Belgium’s growth has slackened to 0.2% from 0.4%. Lithuania’s economy exhibited growth of 1% versus 1.4% recorded earlier. Germany is yet to report its growth rate.
What Lies Ahead?
Per Reuters, economists said the numbers gave the European Central Bank hardly any clue to whether to continue with the loose monetary policy or to start hiking rates. It seems like a late-stage recovery and is unlikely to attain the pace it had in its earlier days, per ING economist Peter Vanden Houte.
Per the analyst, GDP growth should hover around 0.3% in the remainder of the year, below ECB and European Commission forecasts of growth of 0.4% in the second half of 2019. At the current stage, the ECB will likely continue to act in the same way.
Although economic shocks like the impending Brexit and any change in course in the U.S.-China trade talks may derail the growth momentum, investors can bet on the resurgence with these Europe ETFs at the current level.
Below we highlight a few ETFs that could gain from this upbeat GP report from France.
If the Euro zone manages to stage a recovery sooner than expected in the coming days and greenback strength remains moderate in 2019, euro might see a boost, making CurrencyShares Euro ETF (FXE - Free Report) an intriguing pick (read: Why Euro ETFs Could Be a Winning Bet in 2019).
Since small-cap stocks better reflect the domestic economy and are not affected by negative currency translation like large-cap stocks are, small-cap ETFs like WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFE - Free Report) and SPDR EURO STOXX Small Cap ETF (SMEZ - Free Report) might see somegood run. Though the funds have a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), these might get a short-term boost from the latest GDP data.
Since the Spanish economy has acted as a driver to the overall growth, a look at the country ETF iShares MSCI Spain ETF (EWP - Free Report) makes sense. The fun yields 3.33% annually (read: Is a US-EU Trade War Brewing? Stocks & ETFs in a Soft Spot).
A focus on high yield will also offer investors some solid current income. In order to do that, investors can bet on iShares MSCI Sweden ETF (EWD - Free Report) (yields 4.73% annually), First Trust STOXX European Select Dividend Index Fund (FDD - Free Report) (yields 4.70% annually) and Global X MSCI Norway ETF NORW) (yields 4.24% annually) (read: US Tightens Sanctions on Iran: Country ETFs to Gain/Suffer).
Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?
Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>