WisdomTree Investments has added another way to play the strong U.S. dollar with today’s launch of the WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund (EUSC). As its name applies, this exchange-traded fund taps into European small-caps stocks while hedging its exposure to the euro.
The relatively strong U.S. economy vis-à-vis the rest of the developed world, combined with divergent trends of expected rising U.S. interest rates versus loose monetary policy from the European Central Bank, have propelled the U.S. dollar against the euro and hurt U.S. investors’ international equity returns in unhedged funds. Funds such as EUSC seek to maximize gains by hedging currency risk in a strong-dollar environment.
That has been a winning formula of late for the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ), which so far in 2015 has experienced large inflows while sporting a year-to-date gain of 16.22 percent, which easily trumps unhedged Europe-focused equity ETFs.
But unlike HEDJ, which tilts toward large-cap exporters positioned to benefit from the cheaper euro, EUSC focuses on small-cap companies that WisdomTree believes are more levered to local European growth and revenue. The fund tracks the WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Index.
The new ETF’s top three sectors comprise industrials (27 percent), consumer discretionary (17 percent) and financials (15 percent). Italy, France and Germany each comprise more than 18 percent of the fund, while Finland makes up nearly 14 percent and Spain is just a tad under 10 percent.
As with WisdomTree’s three other European equity ETFs (one hedged, two unhedged), the EUSC fund’s expense ratio is 0.58 percent.