Advertisement

Don’t write off European stocks

The Eurozone economy may have slowed to a crawl, but a return to earnings growth has given investors in European stocks hope.

Is the eurozone at a turning point? The bloc’s GDP grew by just 0.1% in the fourth quarter of 2019, the slowest pace in almost seven years, says Elliot Smith for CNBC. Weak German manufacturing has weighed on wider performance and the coronavirus is more bad news for an economy where exports account for roughly 45% of GDP. Yet better survey data and sentiment indicators since the new year suggest that the slump could be bottoming out. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

Fabio Balboni of HSBC points out that German wage growth has hit a 20-year high and unemployment is falling across the eurozone, so consumption could be in for a pick-up. That mildly positive outlook is buttressed by extremely loose monetary policy from the European Central Bank, which has cut interest rates and started buying bonds again last September.

For investors the most encouraging sign is a return to earnings growth. European businesses averaged around a 5% contraction in earnings per share during the first three quarters of 2019, according to Morgan Stanley. Yet the fourth-quarter earnings season looks encouraging, with earnings per share on track to rise 2.1% year on year.

And there may be better news ahead. Germany’s January Purchasing Managers’ Index expanded at it quickest pace in five months, reports Michael Searles for City AM. Throw in reasonable valuations, and the region’s equities are hardly a write-off. 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

What exactly is going on in the Wirecard scandal?
European stockmarkets

What exactly is going on in the Wirecard scandal?

Wirecard, a darling of the German fintech sector, has collapsed and its boss has been charged with fraud. Red flags have waved for years, yet the regu…
4 Jul 2020
What's behind the wipeout at Wirecard?
European stockmarkets

What's behind the wipeout at Wirecard?

Wirecard, the German blue-chip technology group that specialised in payment-processing, has collapsed in scandal. Matthew Partridge reports.
25 Jun 2020
European assets bounce as the eurozone's economy turns upwards
European stockmarkets

European assets bounce as the eurozone's economy turns upwards

Both the euro and European stocks have rallied strongly in the last few days.
12 Jun 2020
European stocks are due a rebound
European stockmarkets

European stocks are due a rebound

European stockmarkets were cheered by the announcement of a Franc-German plan to issue a common European bond, which came as lockdowns were eased in m…
29 May 2020

Most Popular

Can Rishi Sunak save the economy with stamp duty cuts and half-price meal deals?
UK Economy

Can Rishi Sunak save the economy with stamp duty cuts and half-price meal deals?

John Stepek runs his eye over the chancellor's £30bn stimulus package and asks if it's enough to get the economy back on its feet after months of lock…
9 Jul 2020
An economics lesson from my barber
Inflation

An economics lesson from my barber

On reopening his shop after lockdown, Dominic Frisby’s barber doubled his prices. It’s all part of the post-Covid inflation process – and we’re going …
8 Jul 2020
What gold, bonds and tech stocks have in common
Stockmarkets

What gold, bonds and tech stocks have in common

"Risk off" or "safe haven" assets such as gold and government bonds have been doing well lately. But so have riskier tech stocks. That seems to defy c…
10 Jul 2020