- David Moir/Reuters
When you’re looking for a good deal in the markets, it’s all about hitting a sweet spot.
You don’t want to buy too early as an asset is collapsing and all the risks are figured out, and you don’t want to buy at the top when all the value has been sucked out.
The best kinds of investments are those that are cheap, but ready to make a run upward.
According to Cindy Sweeting, director of portfolio management at Franklin Templeton Investments, there is one place in the world you can find this sweet spot: Europe.
“We’re looking across sectors and every sector from pharmaceuticals to retail to energy to industrials and so forth, if you compare European domiciled companies to their US counterparts you’re getting a significant domicile discount,” said Sweeting at a Franklin Templeton event on Wednesday.
“It’s a pretty fertile hunting ground at the company level in Europe and we think rising earnings and a re-rating of equities in Europe could be interesting for investors.”
Sweeting is of the opinion that the debt-fueled financial crisis swept over the world in three waves. The first was in the US, which has since de-levered and allowed the “debt over-hang” to work through its economy.
The second hit Europe, which is only now just coming out from under the “over-hang,” and the third is hitting the emerging markets now.
Sweeting believes that given where Europe is relative to its position in the recovery and the European Central Bank’s accommodative policies, there is significant value in the continent’s stocks.
“The banks have just about now re-capitalized themselves, which happened a lot quicker in the US,” said Sweeting. “Capital is once against sufficient, loan and credit growth is starting. So we think in Europe, we’re at the very early stages of recovery from two recessions. Thinking about equities, it’s usually a very good time to be buying equities when you’re emerging from a severe downturn.”
Additionally, with most of the growth exhausted from US stocks and the structural worries for emerging markets, Europe appears to be the most attractive option.
Indeed, using cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratios, or CAPE, the US market is trading at a 24.6x earnings, while major indices in Germany, France, the UK, Spain, and Italy are all between 10x and 17x earnings.
There are some concerns that could cause a significant setback, however, admitted Sweeting.
“Europe has a lot of other issues that keep investors worried about how things are going to turn out,” said Sweeting. “Brexit, the migrant crisis, terrorism, negative rates, and so forth.”
In Sweeting’s opinion, however, it is unlikely that any of those issues will seriously sidetrack the recovery happening in Europe. Brexit will most likely not happen and Sweeting believes that Europe’s government will find a solution to the political instability on the continent.
Thus, equities look even cheaper and there is value to be had in the European markets.