ChartBrief – European equity valuations

A Bloomberg article “Unloved European Stocks Poised to Become ‘Pain Trade’ of 2017” prompted me to review some of our European equity strategy charts.  Indeed, we last looked at European equities in the 18th November edition of the Weekly Macro Themes and concluded”After some adjustment following the recent peak, European equities are starting to look better, with neutral valuations, improving earnings, and a turn in fund outflows”.  Since then European equities are up about 10%.  So where are we at now?

Following on from the Bloomberg article, the above graph shows forward PE ratios for theS&P500and the MSCI EMU Index (I used that index because it has better data/longer history).  And it is true there is a decent valuation gap between US and European equities.  If you look at the red line (relative valuation) you can see that the last time European equities were this cheap relative to US was around 2012… i.e. during the European sovereign debt crisis!  However it should be noted that absolute valuations are much higher since then.
But it does go to show the potential opportunity there in the form of catch up.  To be fair, such gaps can close through either “catch up” (Europe rising to meet US) or “catch down” (US falling to meet Europe) – and those can be two very different market environments.

Finally, it’s worth looking at thechartof the main European stock benchmark, the Euro Stoxx 50. There is a curious downward sloping trend line that has so far proved impenetrable. That trendline is coming in to play once again. Will this time be different?
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About the Author

Top Down Charts
Topdown Charts: "chart driven macro insights" Based in Queenstown, New Zealand, Topdown Charts brings you independent research and analysis on global macro themes and trends. Topdown Charts covers multiple economies, markets, and asset classes with a distinct chart-driven focus. We are not bound by technical or fundamental dogma, and instead look to leverage any relevant factor to capture the theme. As such, here you will find some posts that are purely technical strategy, some that just cover economics and data, and some posts that use multiple inputs to tell the story and identify the opportunities. Callum Thomas Head of Research Callum is the founder of Topdown Charts. He previously worked in investment strategy and asset allocation at AMP Capital in the Multi-Asset division. Callum has a passion for global macro investing and has developed strong research and analytical expertise across economies and asset classes. Callum's approach is to utilise a blend of factors to inform the macro view.

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