Even as details emerge about a Eurozone deal that would see banks and insurers accept bigger losses on Greek bonds and boost the region's bailout fund, setting up for what could happen across the Atlantic won't be easy for investors.
Officials from 17 Eurozone members battle for headlines and attention with the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund. Their statements have come in many varieties: vague, doomed, contradicting, encouraging. And markets have moved on every whiff of news, canceled meeting or rumor of a broad-based deal.
After hitting three-year highs in early May, global stocks as measured by MSCI plunged to 15-month lows earlier this month. That slide was followed by a rebound that is setting October up as the best month for stocks in more than a year. Of course, such gains can evaporate quickly in volatile markets.
News of a deal on the debt crisis might not stop the headline-induced volatility. Stocks and exchange-traded funds, even those including European companies, offer opportunities to take advantage of the uncertainty.
Avoiding exposure to European companies altogether is extreme, some analysts say. Not all things Europe are a bad bet.
ETFs with less exposure to the riskiest sectors and areas in Europe are one option.
Michael Krause, president at ETF research firm AltaVista Research in New York, points to the BLDRS Europe 100 ADR Index Fund, a fund with more than 40 percent British exposure and more than a third of its sector exposure concentrated in energy and healthcare.
The ETF is down 6 percent for the year, but is up more than 12 percent in October. It's price-to-earnings ratio estimate for 2011 is 9, compared with the S&P 500's trailing P/E of almost 13. That's far below long-term historical averages and suggests room for appreciation.
Valuations have brought in some good bargains, Krause said. You're providing yourself some defense by going to areas that represent value long term.
Other possibilities include the U.S.-heavy Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF, down 7.1 percent this year and up 15.1 percent in October.
STICK TO THE DEFENSIVES
It's almost a given that bank and insurance stocks may be too risky, at least until concrete details about a solution to the European crisis emerge.
For now, the best bet is on sectors in Europe that are less sensitive to debt woes but whose share prices have declined anyway.
You can look at sectors that even when things are tough there's a high degree of confidence (that) a certain level of growth can be achieved, said Kate Shapiro, portfolio manager at Sentinel Asset Management in San Francisco.
One of the top picks in her long-only strategy is Roche, up 4 percent in its local market, and its pink sheet ADR is up 11 percent this year.
Europe is still a third of their business, Shapiro said, but money is still going to be spent on drugs.
Another European company that fits the mold: French food processor Danone, up 2.5 percent year-to-date in the Paris bourse.