Friday’s ETF To Watch: iShares MSCI France Index Fund (EWQ)

by on February 11, 2011 | ETFs Mentioned:

Yesterday saw the Dow hit a bump in the road, as major indexes endured a relatively flat day, ending the DJIA’s winning streak. Perhaps the rough day came from a patch of unfavorable earnings from industry leaders like Cisco, or from the report that the Fed’s budget deficit grew another $50 billion during the month of January. Still the biggest news to hit the street yesterday was the address to the nation from Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who stated that he will not be resigning, a surprising announcement, as many were under the impression that he would be leaving his post in order to quell the turmoil in his home country. The focus will stay overseas to close out the week, as a major earnings report comes from one of the world’s biggest energy firms based in France [see also Three ETFs To Watch If Roubini Is Right About Europe].

Total S.A. is a multinational oil company that is regarded as one of the largest in the world. Founded in 1924, Total employs nearly 100,000 people, and has its hands in everything from crude oil and natural gas exploration, to transportation and refining of petroleum products. According to the firm’s 2009 annual report, they hold approximately $174 billion in assets, and brought in revenues of $179 billion in 2009 alone [see also ETF Dividend Ideas For 2011].

Today, prior to market open, Total S.A. will be reporting earnings from their most recent fiscal quarter. Analysts predict that the company will bring in EPS of $1.58 per share, this compared to their EPS of $1.37 for the same quarter last year. Total hit their last two quarterly marks, but a low outlook for the year may put downward pressure on this. The company is expected to bring in 2011 revenues that would represent a 22% decline, casting a shadow of doubt over today’s announcement for the French oil giant [see also What’s Crushing The France ETF (EWQ)?].

With this major earnings announcement on tap, today’s ETF to watch will be the iShares MSCI France Index Fund (EWQ), which measures the performance of the French equity market. Total is the single largest holding in the ETF, accounting for just over 10% of the entire fund. Though Total is the largest holding, this ETF only allocates approximately 12% of its assets to the energy sector, the majority of its distributions are dedicated to industrial materials (21%) and financials (16%). So far in 2011, this ETF has returned nearly 8% with a dividend yield of 3.8%. If Total hits their marks today, look for EWQ to have a strong day, but a negative report from this major oil company could mean trouble for this ETF to finish out the week.

Disclosure: Photo courtesy of  Ivan Andreevich. Jared is long CSCO.