A Selective Investment in Scandinavia (EWD, rated SELL)
A Selective Investment in Scandinavia As evidence of commercial interest in developing an ETF for the Nordic region, Global X Management has recently filed for such a product , based on the FTSE Nordic 30 Index. The Global X filing specifies that, "The underlying index tracks the performance of the 30 largest and most liquid companies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland. The Adviser uses a passive or indexing approach to try to achieve the Fund’s investment objective." In contrast, the ETFI Nordic Region PerformIdex is a semi-active ETF proposal with quarterly rebalancing among all companies in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland with market caps over $1 billion USD. Currently, 92 companies qualify for the index with only the top 40 rated stock selected as equally-weighted, active constituents. Both the top 40 rated and all 92 companies in the ETFI Nordic PerformIdex have fared better over the past year than the closest benchmark fund on the market, iShares Sweden (EWD), and other European benchmark ETFs such as iShares S&P Europe 350 (IEV), PowerShares Europe Small-Mid Caps (PWD), and Vanguard European Stock (VGK). Among the 10 largest Nordic companies by market cap, I am most bullish on the prospects for Novo Nordisk (NVO), which specializes in producing various types of insulin and other drugs for the growing epidemic of diabetes. Many Scandinavian companies are highly leveraged to the economy with shipping stocks such as Moller-Maersk & Torm (TRMD), energy stocks such as StatOilHydro (STO), and retailers such as Hennes & Mauritz all suffering during the current global slowdown. However, the Nordic region may offer a long-term opportunity for a turnaround play as long as the slowdown is not too long or too severe.