Top picks 2013: Europe Financials Index

The big financial story this year could be a rebound in the troubled eurozone.

By TheStockAdvisors Jan 1, 2013 12:12PM
Europe Photodisc SuperStockBy Paul Goodwin, Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report

Making bets for a calendar year is a tough business, because a lot can happen in a year. So it's a good idea to look for the biggest story available -- one with the potential to make a lasting impact on an investment.

I think the story of the year is likely to be the recovery of Europe and the eurozone countries as the Greek fiscal crisis is resolved.

A healthier Europe will have lots of pent-up demand for financial services, and the iShares MSCI Europe Financial Sector Index Fund (EUFN) is a way to get broad exposure to that demand.

The fund's portfolio includes chunks of HSBC Holdings, Banco Santander, Allianz, UBS, Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas and others.

A little over half of the fund's holdings are in banks, with insurance accounting for a little over a quarter and the rest spread out over diversified financials and real estate.

This is a turnaround situation, and that can be risky, especially if other European countries start to bleed out. But I think it offers attractive risk/reward prospects right now, and it's my pick for best stock of the year.

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