Details Cookies
Important margin product information

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, FX or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cookie policy

This website uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience by enabling, optimising and analysing site operations, as well as to provide personalised ad content and allow you to connect to social media. By choosing “Accept all” you consent to the use of cookies and the related processing of personal data. Select “Manage consent” to manage your consent preferences. You can change your preferences or retract your consent at any time via the cookie policy page. Please view our cookie policy here and our privacy policy here

Are European equities worth pursuing? Are European equities worth pursuing? Are European equities worth pursuing?

Are European equities worth pursuing?

Equities 7 minutes to read
Picture of Peter Garnry
Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  Equity markets have diverged since the financial crisis with US markets outperforming their European counterparts by a wide margin. The question is, is this set to continue?

In our Q2 Quarterly Outlook published today, we argue that equity markets have diverged since the financial crisis in 2008. US equity markets have outperformed their European counterpartss by a large margin and profit growth has also been much stronger among US companies. The three main drivers of this divergence are higher US fiscal impulse, earlier QE in the US restoring balance sheets among US banks and lastly the US technology sector dominating monetisation in the Internet age.

US equities consequently trade at a large valuation premium of around 40% to European equities. The bigger question is whether this will continue into the future?

Strong trends in favour of the US

Long-term US earnings growth will likely be larger than Europe’s due to the three factors mentioned above. The US is likely to have higher fiscal deficits going forward as there is little will in Europe to increase government spending due to the euro area crisis in 2010-2012. As long as Europe does not do deeper fiscal and monetary integration, fiscal policies will likely be constrained compared to the US.

From a sectoral balance perspective, the larger US deficit will underpin profits in the private sector and serve as an engine for further gains in the US equity market. The monopolistic nature of many industries is most striking in the technology sector, where a few US companies completely dominate their niche segments, extracting excess profits.

While the EU has done some initial groundwork to weaken US technology companies. their power will only diminish very slowly, at best... think Microsoft.
Cumulative growth
In addition, US banks are healthy and thus credit enablers to a larger degree than their European counterparts. This stimulates profit growth for US banks which are still the second-largest segment of the US equity market. For long-term investors, US equities should most likely be overweighted against European equities. 

Opportunities in European equities

Long-term dynamics is one game, short-term . In our equity outlook we expressed a negative view on European equities short-term based on Europe’s leading indicators being below trend and still falling as of January 2019. This environment (first column in table below) is typically negative on average for global equities, but in particular for European shares. In our outlook, we offer hope by highlighting that leading indicators for South Korea have already turned higher and evidence shows that South Korea has led global growth since 2008.

Yesterday’s March PMI figures on China and South Korea also confirmed that Chinese stimulus is beginning to work. We have increased the probability that OECD’s leading indicator published on April 8 will likely show that Asia has already turned and that sentiment will improve in Europe within three months.
When the cycle shifts to the next phase, below trend but expanding, investors should increase their exposure to Asia Pacific and North America. Europe has historically been weak in the recovery phase. Only very cyclical countries such as the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and United Kingdom have shown attractive dynamics in this part of the economic cycle.

From a broader perspective, Europe does not deliver high returns until late into the short-term economic cycle. The big unknown against historical returns in the various economic cycles is Europe’s low valuation with German equities valued at a 35% discount to global equities. This could be so attractive that European equities might surprise to the upside when the economic cycle turns.

So our view on equities is still cautious/defensive with an overweight/positive view on early cyclical countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea and India.


The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service and access to Analysis permitting a person to view and/or use content available on or via the website. This content is not intended to and does not change or expand on the execution-only service. Such access and use are at all times subject to (i) The Terms of Use; (ii) Full Disclaimer; (iii) The Risk Warning; (iv) the Rules of Engagement and (v) Notices applying to Saxo News & Research and/or its content in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of hyperlinks on the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group by which access to Saxo News & Research is gained. Such content is therefore provided as no more than information. In particular no advice is intended to be provided or to be relied on as provided nor endorsed by any Saxo Bank Group entity; nor is it to be construed as solicitation or an incentive provided to subscribe for or sell or purchase any financial instrument. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. As such no Saxo Bank Group entity will have or be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information which is available on Saxo News & Research or as a result of the use of the Saxo News & Research. Orders given and trades effected are deemed intended to be given or effected for the account of the customer with the Saxo Bank Group entity operating in the jurisdiction in which the customer resides and/or with whom the customer opened and maintains his/her trading account. Saxo News & Research does not contain (and should not be construed as containing) financial, investment, tax or trading advice or advice of any sort offered, recommended or endorsed by Saxo Bank Group and should not be construed as a record of our trading prices, or as an offer, incentive or solicitation for the subscription, sale or purchase in any financial instrument. To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, you must note and accept that the content was not intended to and has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such, would be considered as a marketing communication under relevant laws.

Please read our disclaimers:
Notification on Non-Independent Investment Research (
Full disclaimer (
Full disclaimer (

Saxo Bank A/S (Headquarters)
Philip Heymans Alle 15

Contact Saxo

Select region


Trade responsibly
All trading carries risk. Read more. To help you understand the risks involved we have put together a series of Key Information Documents (KIDs) highlighting the risks and rewards related to each product. Read more

This website can be accessed worldwide however the information on the website is related to Saxo Bank A/S and is not specific to any entity of Saxo Bank Group. All clients will directly engage with Saxo Bank A/S and all client agreements will be entered into with Saxo Bank A/S and thus governed by Danish Law.

Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc, registered in the US and other countries and regions. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.