As global markets rallied on Monday, European region-related ETFs touched new highs, with Europe’s market breaking its first record in over four years, on diminishing political risks.
Year-to-date, the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (NYSEArca: VGK) increased 22.6% and the iShares Core MSCI Europe ETF (NYSEArca: IEUR) advanced 22.8%. The Europe ETFs are now trading around their highest level since early 2018.
Meanwhile, the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600 index, which tracks companies across Europe and the U.K., climbed about 24% this year, putting it on track for its best performance in a decade, the Wall Street Journal reports.
European markets have strengthened since last week after growing optimism that the United Kingdom would proceed with a clean break from the European Union and the U.S. would push to end its trade war with China.
Unlike the U.S., Europe has spent most of the past decade struggling with uneven economic growth as a result of the sovereign-debt crisis, vulnerability to global trade and uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
“The experience of equity investors in Europe over the last 20 years has been pretty dreadful,” Tristan Hanson, multiasset fund manager at M&G Investments, told the WSJ. “People have been on the lookout in thinking `what can go wrong?’ all the time.”
London’s FTSE 100 Rallies
Leading the recent charge, London’s FTSE 100 has rallied and led gains among regional indices as investors took British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s election win last week as a signal to buy back into an underperforming market, Reuters reports.
“We are witnessing a realignment of British politics and investment,” Steven Holden, CEO of Copley Fund Research, said in a note. “Down in the dumps and forgotten British brands are suddenly positioned to ride a wave of new-found confidence.”
Some believe the record run may be only just beginning as European stocks remain less expensive on average compared with U.S. peers.
“It’s still one of the few markets still trading at a discount,” Nicholette MacDonald-Brown, a fund manager at Schroders Asset Management, told the WSJ. “There’s definitely potential for upside.”
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