The World Cup ETF Portfolio

by: Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA

I've grown to like World Cup soccer or, at least, tolerate it. Though to be honest, I didn't have much of a choice. Being married to a South American woman, I had two options: Either embrace the impassioned screaming at my living room TV in Spanish or resign myself to a month of misery. We'll call it "Soccer Stockholm Syndrome." I've grown to love my tormentor, World Cup soccer.

As it so happens, several of the remaining teams are some of my favorite countries in which to invest at current prices. One notable exception: Spain (NYSEARCA:EWP), perennial soccer powerhouse and my favorite contrarian value play in Europe, has already been bounced out, as has fellow recovering crisis countries Italy (NYSEARCA:EWI) and Portugal (NYSEARCA:PGAL).

But of the remaining 16 countries, I consider three particularly worthy of investment.

At the top of the list is Argentina (NYSEARCA:ARGT). I realize that this is a controversial recommendation given Argentina's recent setback at the U.S. Supreme Court concerning its outstanding debt to "holdout creditors." But as I noted last week, I expect a negotiated settlement, as Argentina has already settled with virtually all of its other creditors, and Argentina is one of the cheapest and most under-owned markets in the world today.

Next on the list: Germany (NYSEARCA:EWG). While the domestic German economy is showing signs of slowing, the German stock market can be thought of as a leveraged play on the global economy. Germany is the world's premier exporting country, and its first-class industrial giants are well-positioned to take advantage of a Eurozone returning to growth and of the emerging-market slowdown bottoming out.

And finally, we get to Nigeria (NYSEARCA:NGE). Nigeria gets a lot of well-deserved bad press for its corruption and its reputation as a base for email scams. But Nigeria is also a budding energy power, the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, and potentially one of the fastest-growing economies in the world over the next ten years. Investors wanting a lower-risk entry into Africa should probably consider South Africa (NYSEARCA:EWZ) first. But investors with a higher tolerance for risk and a longer time horizon should buy and continue to accumulate shares of Nigerian stocks.

One country I would not recommend overweighting at this time? The USA. While I am rooting for the U.S. team against Belgium, U.S. stocks are overvalued relative to most world markets at current prices.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered specific investment advice or as a solicitation to buy or sell any securities. Sizemore Capital personnel and clients will often have an interest in the securities mentioned. There is risk in any investment in traded securities, and all Sizemore Capital investment strategies have the possibility of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.