TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 23, 2014) - iShares, the industry-leading exchange-traded fund (ETF) business at BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited (BlackRock Canada) (TSX:XEU)(TSX:XEH), an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock, Inc. (BlackRock), announced the launch of two iShares funds to access European exposure while, in the case of XEH, hedging exposure to foreign currencies. The iShares MSCI Europe IMI Index ETF seeks to track the MSCI Europe IMI while the iShares MSCI Europe IMI Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) seeks to track the MSCI Europe IMI 100% Hedged to CAD Index. Both indices capture large, mid and small-cap representation across the developed countries in Europe, and include 1,315 constituent equities (as of January 31, 2014). XEH's index is hedged back to Canadian dollars. The new funds' management fees are 0.25% and were launched under the tickers (TSX:XEU) and (TSX:XEH), respectively. XEU began trading on April 22nd and XEH is expected to begin trading on April 24th.
"Canadian investors are increasingly using iShares funds to express their views, and our new options for Europe provide low-cost access to equity exposure outside of North America," said Mary Anne Wiley, Managing Director, Head of iShares Canada. "We believe investors should focus on areas of relative value like markets in Europe as diversifiers to their asset allocation strategy."
Make Europe Part of Your Plans: European Fundamentals Attractive Relative to Canada and the U.S.
Diversification beyond North America is one of the key themes BlackRock has identified as vital to investors for 2014. With Canadian and U.S. equity markets on track for modest growth this year, investors should consider looking beyond the familiar as they seek opportunities to grow their portfolios. European developed markets offer equity prices that look reasonably valued compared to North American equities, and dividend yields are an attractive growth opportunity for Canadian investors. The MSCI Europe IMI's current price-to-equity ratio (P/E) stands at 17.71, compared with a P/E of 19.9 for the MSCI USA IMI and 20.7 for the MSCI Canada IMI. Meanwhile, dividend yield for the MSCI Europe IMI stands at 3.09%, compared with 1.91% and 2.87% for the U.S. and Canada MSCI indexes, respectively.1
While providing exposure to growth outside of North America, XEU and XEH offer significant diversification opportunities to Canadian investors who may be heavily weighted in domestic equities. The Canadian stock market is highly concentrated in three sectors: financials, energy and materials. By contrast, the MSCI Europe IMI covers key economic sectors that are underweighted in Canadian indexes, including industrials (e.g. Siemens AG, Airbus Group N.V. and Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC), healthcare (e.g. Roche Holding AG, Novartis AG, GlaxoSmithKline PLC) and consumer discretionary (e.g. BMW AG, Daimler AG). The iShares funds track indexes that cover approximately 99% of free float-adjusted market capitalization across European developed-market countries, allowing investors to explore ex-North America growth, and mitigate cyclical and economic risk through geographic and sector diversification.
As the ETF market leader, with a 15-year history in ETFs in Canada and over $43 billion in assets under management, iShares Canada is committed to serving the evolving needs of investors. Earlier this year, the iShares Core Series for Canadian investors was launched - a suite of nine low-cost funds that cover key assets classes used by Canadian investors in their portfolios today (domestic equities, dividends and bonds, as well as U.S. and international equities) to form the core of their ETF portfolios. At BlackRock, we believe investors should strengthen the core of their portfolios with low-cost, efficient products such as the iShares Core Series and complement their asset allocation strategies with outcome-based solutions designed to address more specific needs, from earning income in retirement to capitalizing on short-term market opportunities. As the first funds to be launched following the iShares Core Series debut, XEU and XEH provide a new way to complement core holdings, by offering diversified, outcome-based exposure to an important international market.
"Investors now have greater flexibility to complement the core of their portfolio with the diversification they need," adds Wiley.
1. Source: MSCI Inc., as of 03/31/14.
BlackRock is a leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients worldwide. At March 31, 2014, BlackRock's AUM was US$4.401 trillion. BlackRock helps clients meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of March 31, 2014, the firm had approximately 11,500 employees in more than 30 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa. For additional information, please visit the Company's website at www.blackrock.com.
About iShares ETFs
The iShares business is a global product leader in exchange traded funds with over 600 funds globally across equities, fixed income and commodities, which trade on 20 exchanges worldwide. The iShares funds are bought and sold like common stocks on securities exchanges. The iShares funds are attractive to many individual and institutional investors and financial intermediaries because of their relative low cost, tax efficiency and trading flexibility. Investors can purchase and sell securities through any brokerage firm, financial advisor, or online broker, and hold the funds in any type of brokerage account. The iShares customer base consists of the institutional segment of pension plans and fund managers, as well as the retail segment of financial advisors and individual investors.
iShares Funds are managed by BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investing in iShares Funds. Please read the relevant prospectus before investing. The funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional.
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