European GDP has outpaced the U.S. last year, growing 1.8% compared to the 1.6% here. We are also seeing recent highs in consumer confidence and purchasing managers’ surveys, along with improvements in employment and a return of some healthy inflation.
European companies are also off to a strong start this year, with first quarter earnings among the strongest in years by some measures. Analysts are also upwardly revising earnings per share forecasts for the region. At Deutsche, analysts are projecting earnings for the Stoxx Europe 600 Index to grow by almost 11% over the next year.
The Eurozone also shows relatively more attractive valuations compared to the U.S., notably on a price-to-book basis.
Investors who believe the euro currency will continue to weaken and are bullish on the Eurozone’s outlook can turn to currency-hedged ETF options, such as the the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EMU Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEZ), iShares Currency Hedged MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: HEZU) and WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ). These currency-hedged Europe ETFs may outperform non-hedged Europe funds if the euro continues to depreciate against the U.S. dollar.
For more information on the Eurozone, visit our Europe category.