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.