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John Hood.

John Hood is president and portfolio manager of J.C. Hood Investment Counsel. His focus is options and ETFs.

Top Picks:

iShares MSCI Europe IMI Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) (XEH-TSX)

Blackrock's iShares MSCI Europe IMI Index ETF is Canadian dollar hedged and offers exposure to European small, mid and large cap stocks.

BMO Covered Call Dow Jones Industrial Average Hedged to CAD ETF (ZWA-TSX)

This ETF includes covered calls on Dow stocks. It has good a yield, plus a partial hedge on volatility and is U.S. dollar hedged.


This BMO ETF focuses on developed markets and is based on EAFE. It includes both Europe and 20 per cent Japan. Many European ETFs are overweight the U.K., including BMO's ZEQ which is 44-per-cent U.K.. Others are underweight Germany, France, Switzerland whereas ZDM is about 10 per cent each.

Past Picks: March 20, 2014

Vanguard Large-Cap ETF (VV-NYSE)

Then: $86.41; Now: $96.37 +11.53%; Total return: +14.11%

Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK-NYSE)

Then: $58.46; Now: $55.61 -4.88%; Total return: -0.29%

First Trust AlphaDEX European Dividend Index ETF (CAD-Hedged) (EUR-TSX)

Then: $20.00; Now: $22.86 +14.30%; Total return: +17.39%

Total return average: +10.40%

Market outlook:

I continue to be cautiously optimistic on the U.S., cautious in that a correction is overdue, but I still like health care and technology. I am beginning to invest in Europe, perhaps 5-10 per cent, but investors need to be very careful about which ETF to select as there are broad differences regarding currency hedging EURO vs Europe etc., plus geopolitical issues – i.e. Putin remain an important factor.