Road to recovery: selectors reveal their European equity picks
The once unloved sector is back on investors’ agendas, Citywire Global discovers which managers are lighting up watch lists.
by Citywire Research Team on Dec 03, 2012 at 07:01
It has been a tough few years for European equity investors but where have investors focused their attentions? Citywire Global finds out the fund managers selectors are putting their money behind.
EFG Asset Management, London
We have been strategically underweight Europe for many years given the well understood problems which have faced this region.
Structural rigidities in these economies have been a feature of European markets for decades and more latterly the sovereign debt crisis has been our primary concern. Until recently policy responses to these issues have fallen well short.
However, we have been reducing our underweight of late to reflect reduced tail risk following ECB action which, coupled with low valuations, improves the risk/reward profile of Europe. Europe is trading close to 10-year valuation lows on price-to-book and price-to-sales.
On the fund side, we have favoured growth managers over the last three years with Allianz Europe Growth being the key play which has performed well. Sector effects have been very powerful producing gale force tail winds for growth managers.
Consumer non cyclicals where growth funds are heavily weighted have significantly outperformed while banks and utilities which growth funds underweight have significantly lagged.
Sector effects have also benefitted European funds more generally with the median Europe ex UK fund outperforming by 71bp annualised over three years.
Looking ahead, with utilities and financials at or close to 16-year absolute and relative valuation lows and growth funds unlikely to invest in these sectors, it seems improbable that growth (and active funds on average) will have quite the same success over the next three to five years.
Indeed, with the ECB’s recent steps towards resolving the European debt crisis, we have observed a significant improvement in the performance of financials.
With this in mind, we are now moving towards a more balanced approach to investing in Europe by adding value funds and ETFs to portfolios.
For example Metropole Euro is a value-based fund which has higher exposure to cyclicals and financials. Other similar funds include Edinburgh Partners, a boutique firm specialising in Europe and Global value strategies.
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Look up the funds
- Allianz Europe Equity Growth - AT - EUR
- Metropole Euro A
- Fidelity FAST Europe A-EUR
- Standard Life SICAV European Smaller Cos A
- Cazenove UK Smaller Companies B Acc
- Cazenove UK Absolute Target P1 GBP
- BlackRock European Absolute Alpha P Acc
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