Depuis 2010, la crise de la dette de la zone euro a eu plusieurs conséquences pour les marchés actions: sorties massives de capitaux (recherche de valeurs refuge), et sous-performance par rapport au S&P 500 (sans parler du repli de l’euro face au dollar…). Récemment, cette lente descente aux enfers de la zone euro semble s’être au moins temporairement arrêtée (boursièrement parlant s’entend). Pour les stratégistes d’Exane BNP Paribas, cette situation reflèterait une normalisation des primes de risque.
« Risk premia trumps earnings
We are c70% through the European earnings season and overall it looks mediocre. Sales have beat expectations because of a lower EUR/USD, but earnings have slightly undershot consensus expectations. More interestingly the market has rallied strongly, albeit in phases, over the past two months. We put this down to tail risk mitigation. We think there has been policy progress – most recently from the ECB – and this is helping reduce EU currency break-up risk.
Long Europe versus US
The 24% underperformance of the Stoxx 600 relative to S&P 500 since 2010 could be viewed as the price of political inaction. But things are changing and Europe is beginning to outperform. Even after the recent rally, European equities remain cheap – either absolutely (P/E 10.5x) or relative to the US. We think European markets can trade up on policy progression, whereas in the US the debate about QE3 is finely balanced, which might temporarily limit US equity upside.
Prefer cyclical sectors
We like Europe and we like cyclical sectors within Europe. Sector leadership since June may be mixed, but the earnings season is nearing an end and a cyclical bias is starting to emerge. Sector rotation seems to be a feature again. We try to highlight valuation anomalies in the context of normalised profitability expectations. There seems plenty to play for in cyclicals whereas certain defensives, like Food, Beverages & HPC, look fully priced.
Peripheral short covering
From a country perspective we prefer the German Dax, Swedish OMX and UK FTSE. We feel that lower equity risk premia should benefit all countries, whereas returns are only likely to be maximised in the overseas exposed indices. In other words, the depressed valuations in Spain and Italy are only part of the story for us. However, for investors looking for periphery domiciled names we have screened for quality stocks (safe balance sheets and reasonable RoE) that might suit. »