A strong euro-dollar may be bad for Old Europe's economic positioning. Yet, one would expect currency strength to help companies earning euro-based profits. (And by extension... currency strength would benefit international investors.)

While the projections for Euro-area GDP growth for 2010 may be less than the projections for North America, South America or Asia, neither the Germans nor the French expect to go quietly into the night. Both France and Germany are likely to lead the economic recovery for the countries from that region.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise to see iShares France (EWQ) and iShares Germany (EWG) popping up on a value screen. For instance, I screened for the following 3 criteria:

1. Dividend yield greater than the current 10-year U.S. treasury
2. Price-to-book (P/B) ratio less than 2.0
3. Average daily volume in excess of 100,000 shares

Here's what I uncovered:

5 ETFs With Strong Dividend Yields and Low P/B Ratios  
    Annual Div Yield % P/B
iShares MSCI EAFE Value Index (EFV)3.47%  1.54
iShares MSCI France (EWQ) 3.84%  1.81
SPDR Select Utilities (XLU) 4.12%  1.65
SPDR International Real Estate (RWX)4.39%  1.67
iShares MSCI Germany (EWG) 4.76%  1.91

Not a whole lot has changed for value investing since mid-July. For those that look in the valuation direction... as opposed to momentum/risk/growth direction... the biggest sector steal is utilities. The SPDR Select Utilities Fund (XLU) and the Vanguard Utilities Fund (VPU) are suitable means for gaining access.

The 4 other possibilities above highlight the apparent value that may exist in Old Europe. Granted, rising unemployment is hurting consumer demand, while the strong euro slams French and German manufacturers. Industrial production (September) in France and Germany was down -10.4% and -12.8% respectively. (Review the importance of industrial production data in this feature about South Korea.)

Nevertheless, for those who are long on value and patient on time... iShares France (EWQ) and iShares Germany (EWG) may have something to offer. The YTD gains are certainly commensurate with the U.S. S&P 500 SPDR Trust (SPY).


If you'd like to learn more about ETF investing... then tune into In the Money With Gary Gordon. You can listen to the show LIVE, via podcast or on your iPod.