Countries around the world are struggling to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, to balance the health needs of the population, and struggling with the economic consequences of lockdown.
The continent of Europe has been no different, and it has become apparent that, just as lockdown measures have eased, so incidences of Covid-19 have increased.
Where does this leave investing in Europe? Investors have typically been ambivalent about investing in European equities, due to their reliance on ‘old economy’ stocks – banking, finance and energy.
The frequent complaint about European stocks is they do not have equivalents of the big tech giants that we get in the US; given the state of the global economy, and the fact that old economy stocks are expected to suffer from the pandemic, tech stocks and ESG stocks are expected to benefit.
However, this does not mean European (ex UK) equities do not have anything to offer.
While it does not serve any purpose looking for stocks that are equivalent to big tech in the US, there are still plenty of companies in the tech sector that are successful – but more in the B2B tech sector, such as tech components.
Similarly, luxury goods, where European markets excel, have become more popular with Asian buyers, as their consumer wealth rises.
One question is how to diversify, and which type of stocks may be good during the current circumstances – apart from the obvious candidates of tech and ESG-related investments.
Some investment experts suggest looking at consumer staples, such as the big consumer goods companies, as well as perhaps picking winners in the more distressed sectors.
Another thing to consider is defensive stocks – looking at companies that make much of their earnings outside Europe, for example, or financial companies that benefit from volatile trading.
Despite the health and economic crisis, today certainly does look different to the eurozone crisis, which was a consequence of the financial crash of 2008-09, and the inherent tensions of the euro.
As the situation progresses, economists and investors will be eager to see how government intervention packages and long-term economic trends will play out in the European markets.
Melanie Tringham is features editor of FTAdviser and Financial Adviser