The European equity landscape amid the energy crisis The European equity landscape amid the energy crisis The European equity landscape amid the energy crisis

The European equity landscape amid the energy crisis

Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  European equities have been split into two parts with the energy and defensive sectors holding up well while consumer discretionary, real estate, and information technology stocks have been hit hard this year from higher interest rates and galloping energy costs. We remain defensive on equities overall, but in our equity note today we highlight the themes we like including the equity factor quality which we believe will see less margin compression than the weaker companies with less strong balance sheets and operating metrics.

Investors are running away from real estate, IT and consumer discretionary stocks

European equities are down 12.1% this year which given an economic slowdown and historic energy crisis pushing up cost-of-living is quite acceptable. One reason why it has not been such a bad year after all, is that the energy sector is 35.5% this year and the European equity market is heavy on consumer staples and health care stocks which have also done well. Despite some utilities are being thrown a lifeline by European governments, the overall utility sector has held up well offering its defensive qualities.

The real damage this year has been in real estate as yields have surged pushing up mortgage costs. Quite stunningly, the European real estate sector is now down 24% over the past 5 years offering no income for its investors. With financial conditions set to tighten significantly from here to cool down inflation the sector is likely going to face more headwinds. The IT sector is still interest rate sensitive through higher bond yields and the share price declines have put pressure on operating costs as the value of employee stock options has fallen. Finally, the consumer discretionary sector is hard hit by the cost-of-living crisis as we also described in our recent equity note Consumer stocks to be hit by historically high energy costs.

Regular readers of our research will know that we are still positive on commodities with energy being the main driver of returns and other tangible-driven themes such as defence, logistics, and renewable energy. Across equity factors we urge investors to seek defensive characteristics in high quality companies as they will be forced to eat less into their operating margins than the weaker players in the different industries. The 10 largest holdings in the iShares Edge MSCI Europe Quality Factor UCITS ETF are listed below. These names are not investment recommendations, but simply names that are part of the quality theme, which can be defined in many ways. One main risk for the quality factor is that these stocks come with high equity valuations and thus are a bit more interest rate sensitive than the average European stock.

  • Novo Nordisk
  • Roche
  • Neste
  • ASML
  • LVHM
  • Nestle
  • Rio Tinto
  • Unilever
  • Diageo
  • Allianz

Finally, it is important to reiterate our base case scenario. We remain defensive and expect the global equity market to correct around 33% from its peak before we have found a bottom. This view is driven by our view that inflation will be structurally higher than in previous periods due to deglobalization and operating margins will come under pressure from higher wages and higher yields.


Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited prepares and distributes information/research produced within the Saxo Bank Group for informational purposes only. In addition to the disclaimer below, if any general advice is provided, such advice does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider the appropriateness of trading any financial instrument as trading can result in losses that exceed your initial investment. Please refer to our Analysis Disclaimer, and our Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement. All legal documentation and disclaimers can be found at

The Saxo Bank Group entities each provide execution-only service. Access and use of Saxo News & Research and any Saxo Bank Group website are subject to (i) the Terms of Use; (ii) the full Disclaimer; and (iii) the Risk Warning in addition (where relevant) to the terms governing the use of the website of a member of the Saxo Bank Group.

Saxo News & Research is provided for informational purposes, 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. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. All trading or investments you make must be pursuant to your own unprompted and informed self-directed decision. No Saxo Bank Group entity shall be liable for any losses that you may sustain as a result of any investment decision made in reliance on information on Saxo News & Research.

To the extent that any content is construed as investment research, such 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.

None of the information contained here constitutes an offer to purchase or sell a financial instrument, or to make any investments.Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account your personal investment objectives or financial situation and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the information nor for any loss arising from any investment made in reliance of this presentation. Any opinions made are subject to change and may be personal to the author. These may not necessarily reflect the opinion of Saxo Capital Markets or its affiliates.

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

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited
Suite 1, Level 14, 9 Castlereagh St
Sydney NSW 2000

Contact Saxo

Select region


The Saxo trading platform has received numerous awards and recognition. For details of these awards and information on awards visit

Saxo Capital Markets (Australia) Limited ABN 32 110 128 286 AFSL 280372 (‘Saxo’ or ‘Saxo Capital Markets’) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saxo Bank A/S, headquartered in Denmark. Please refer to our General Business Terms, Financial Services Guide, Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination to consider whether acquiring or continuing to hold financial products is suitable for you, prior to opening an account and investing in a financial product.

Trading in financial instruments carries various risks, and is not suitable for all investors. Please seek expert advice, and always ensure that you fully understand these risks before trading. Saxo Capital Markets does not provide ‘personal’ financial product advice, any information available on this website is ‘general’ in nature and for informational purposes only. Saxo Capital Markets does not take into account an individual’s needs, objectives or financial situation. The Target Market Determination should assist you in determining whether any of the products or services we offer are likely to be consistent with your objectives, financial situation and needs.

Apple, iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the US and other countries. AppStore is a service mark of Apple Inc.

The information or the products and services referred to on this website may be accessed worldwide, however is only intended for distribution to and use by recipients located in countries where such use does not constitute a violation of applicable legislation or regulations. Products and Services offered on this website is not intended for residents of the United States and Japan.

Please click here to view our full disclaimer.