MAPFRE Views On IBEX 35, Spain Assets

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Spain’s IBEX 35 index has been drifting in recent weeks relative to both other European indices and those in the US and Asia.

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However, Ismael García Puente, fund selector at MAPFRE, based in Madrid, sees opportunity beginning to emerge through macro data, which suggests local assets such as Spanish equities, could be set to surprise on the upside relative to assets in other regions such as the US and Asia.

IBEX 35 index vs The Rest Of The European Markets

If we compare the IBEX with the rest of the European markets, we still have enough growth potential.” And if this path has not yet begun, it is because “perhaps we need to see positive surprises in the economy, a certain vigor in the macro data,” García said in an interview on Radio Intereconomía.

Another element that could boost selection is the probable increase in ECB rates in the medium term, which are “really important for the Spanish market due to the considerable weight of the banking sector,” which would benefit greatly from such a move. However, García Puente encourages not taking it for granted and notes that it could be truncated by news such as the rise in the cases of COVID-19, the tensions with Belarus and Russia, and the rise in the prices of raw materials, which require keeping an eye on in coming months.

The positive outlook for the IBEX is reflected in the European stock markets, of which MAPFRE Asset Management has increased the weight in its portfolio, since their recovery has lagged behind those of the US and Asia. So “it is logical” that the positive trend clearly shown in places such as Frankfurt and Paris should continue. This idea is reinforced by the fact that the latest business results have generally been positive in the Old Continent, and that, despite the potential interest rate rises, real rates will continue to be very negative, which “historically has been a support for the stock markets.”

Inflation Will Continue To Rise

“Everything points to the fact that inflation will continue to rise.” Although “it is to be expected to moderate in 2022,” even if it is due to the base effect. This trend, he insists, means that the market consensus expects a rate hike in the eurozone, although the ECB is still reluctant to do so in the short term. Investors have also been discounting this rate hike by the Federal Reserve, states García Puente, who expects one or two hikes in the US in 2022.

The rise in real estate market prices is also increasingly the focus of attention, an issue that García Puente views with relative calm because he does not see the “irrational” trend of 2007 and points out that the level of loans recorded in the ECB surveys remains stable. Although prices are rising, this “is largely due to the decision of the central banks to keep financing cheaper,” asserted García Puente, who does not share the more pessimistic views on this sector.

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