Video length: 2 minutes
QUARTERLY OUTLOOK

Q2 Outlook: The great divergence

Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  European equities are global laggards, with weak earnings and low valuations keeping prices well below those of their US counterparts. As we prepare to exit the era of convergence and increasing globalisation, Europe looks set to fall further behind. The question is, what can policymakers do?

In this Q2 Outlook we have chosen to focus on Europe and the outlook for the region’s equities . The depressing reality is that European companies have had negative real growth in operating earnings as the region lacks a strong technology sector that capitalises on the digital age.

Europe's earnings depression

The period after the financial crisis in 2008 was unique in many ways. Monetary policies were experimental to an unprecedented degree, leading to negative yields on many assets around the world. Global equities have delivered phenomenal returns despite lacklustre economic growth, and this was driven largely by US equities, and US technology companies in particular, monetising our digital world.

The post-2008 crisis has also delivered several European political crises with Brexit being the latest one. The US and China have increasingly diverged in terms of worldview, leading to a trade war that has impacted economic activity significantly. On top of this, the period has seen inequality rise with populism following in its footsteps. Everywhere we look, the world is diverging more than converging (which was the main theme from 1982 to 2008).
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