Investors’ perception of the opportunity in European equities has been clouded, but in reality we believe the region is an exciting place to invest. The currency weakness that affected recent European stock performance is, in our view, a short-term story and should not influence one’s investment approach.
Additionally, we hold that developed international indices are a poor representation of Europe’s future value and require an active manager to provide exposure to higher potential growth areas of the economy.
Despite recent setbacks, the European market’s strengths, including its many innovative companies and brand leaders, make it a compelling long-term investment opportunity. We point to four key characteristics that make it so:
1. Market size: Europe remains the second largest investment region in the world. Europe will continue to provide a liquid platform for investors to access equity investments. It’s a market that encourages shareholder friendly practices and business growth.
2. Strong brands and businesses: Many valuable brands and companies call Europe home. Europe is the leader in many innovative industries and home to many brands with a high degree of loyalty. These companies offer a compelling investment opportunity through all market environments.
3. A currency boost for exports: Weak currencies are good for exports. Europe is a major trade partner for the United States and the emerging markets. Following three years of a sharp devaluation in the euro and pound, European goods and services have become cheaper for foreign countries.
4. Improving economic data: Key economic data have been improving for several years and by the end of 2016 were back above pre-recession levels for most major European economies.
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Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Eurozone investments may be subject to volatility and liquidity issues. Investments in securities of growth companies may be volatile. Mid-sized company stock is typically more volatile than that of larger company stock. It may take a substantial period of time to realize a gain on an investment in a mid-sized company, if any gain is realized at all.
Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.
Mutual funds and exchange traded funds are subject to market risk and volatility. Shares may gain or lose value.
These views represent the opinions of the portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are as of the publication date, and are subject to change based on subsequent developments.