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  • J. J. Wenrich CFP®

Signs of Life in Europe?

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

Market Blog

Few equity sectors on earth have been as poor as European financials since the Global Financial Crisis. The sector still sits more than 50% below its 2007 all-time highs, hampered by regulations, low to negative interest rates, and all around slow growth in the Eurozone. However, despite those headwinds, the sector has benefitted from a recent rotation to value, and has certainly been assisted by rising interest rates, a phenomenon we discussed earlier this week.

Not only is performance for European financials improving in absolute terms, as global equities continue to recover from the worst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but since early October the sector has outperformed the S&P 500 by more than 20 percentage points. As shown in the LPL Chart of the Day, the pattern relative to the S&P 500 appears to be on the verge of breaking out of a nearly year-long technical base, similar to where US financials stood just two months ago.

While we don’t think European financials are going back to all-time highs anytime soon, remember, the sector still needs to gain 12% from current levels just to eclipse its 2020 pre-pandemic highs, a bar that certainly now seems attainable in 2021. “We remain broadly skeptical of foreign developed equities compared to their U.S. counterparts,” explained LPL Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “However, financials are the largest sector within Europe and improving performance and the continued rotation to cyclical value stocks make this a development to keep an eye on.”

For now, we recommend sticking with US financials, which we recently upgraded and is now the second best performing sector year to date, trailing only energy.


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