Cazenove’s Rice: European stocks are ‘crazily cheap’
But the firm's head of European equities thinks a pullback is likely and he has concerns over the valuations of many quality large caps in Europe.
by Matthew Goodburn on Jan 31, 2013 at 07:01
Rice also tips large cap value stocks to continue their run as the best performing sector in the market for a while longer, but thinks a modest correction of between five and 10% is due in the near future.
‘Despite what has happened in Europe recently, you can hardly see the rally and it is still too early to start buying into growth stocks,' Rice told Citywire Global. 'We expect large cap value to be the best performer in the next setback.’
He added: ‘A pause is overdue. We expect value to stay ahead of security if Europe continues to outperform the US in 2013. If corporate profitability continues to hold and volatility remains low, Europe’s second half rally should continue.’
Recycling into defensive 'stodge'
Rice has been taking profits on his cyclical winners of the past six months and is gradually moving back into what he terms as more defensive large cap ‘stodge’.
The move has seen him go from an underweight in oil to an overweight, with French oil giant Total and Italian peer ENI representing key holdings. Deutsche Telekom now represents the largest overweight position in the fund.
‘We have not gone long on defensives yet but are starting to move back towards things that have been relatively derated and we are keeping beta just above 1.’
With a keen focus on where stocks are in the business cycle, Rice is looking to stick with companies that are trading at below 20x earnings and took the portfolio overweight on cyclicals last August with a number of selective quality growth stocks increased.
In the top 10 positions, quality growth stocks include third largest holding and long-term favourite Campari, French media giant Publicis and chemicals and cosmetics group Henkel.
Rice likes Henkel as it is ‘not as aggressively priced as L’Oréal’ and he stresses that despite strong runs, many of his other core quality growth holdings are still not too expensive, despite strong reratings in the second half of 2012.
‘BIC was at 12x earnings and it is now at 16x and SAP is trading at 18x earnings.’
Luxury goods group LVMH was added to the portfolio recently. Despite concerns over a marked decline in the consumption of luxury goods across much of Asia, Rice is not too concerned about the stock, which is trading at around 17x earnings.
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