The biggest problem with being a contrarian is having the nerve to actually buck conventional wisdom.
Most people don’t have the contrarian gene in their DNA, which means missing out on tons of moneymaking opportunities.
It’s a real shame, too. I mean, playing it safe is easily the worst form of self-torture one can inflict on his portfolio.
Long live the contrarian, I say!
Of course, being a true contrarian also requires a bit of patience.
That’s a tough reality to swallow in this day and age of instant gratification.
That being said, the wait might (finally) be over for one of my most contrarian calls in 2013. Let me explain…
Not Just Another Head Fake
Back in January, I told you to overlook “lingering financial turmoil, social unrest in Greece and Spain, and an economic rebound that still seems a long way off” – and just buy European stocks.
To be fair, Barron’s beat me to the punch by a few weeks. But they didn’t offer up a feasible way for everyday investors (like you and me) to play an imminent rebound. Instead, they expected us to buy shares listed on overseas exchanges. Based on my years of managing money, that’s not happening for the average investor. (More about that in a moment, though.)
What’s most important right now is the fact that European stocks just staged their most impressive rally in almost a year.
Since Monday’s close, the STOXX Europe 600 Index is up 3.2%, which is its biggest two-day jump since July 27 of last year, according to Bloomberg.
Of course, the move could be just another dreaded head fake. Or it could signal that the long-anticipated rally in European stocks is beginning in earnest.
I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. And here’s why…
Cheaper, Higher Yielding and (Long) Overdue for a Rally
Fundamentally speaking, a move much higher is warranted.
Remember, blue-chip European stocks trade much cheaper than their U.S. counterparts. And they yield more, too.
The average U.S. stock trades for 14.26 times forward earnings and yields 2.15%. In contrast, the average European stock trades for 12.61 times forward earnings and yields 3.75%.
So, yes, European stocks definitely represent the better bargain right now. And it appears other investors might finally be waking up to that reality, too.
Rest assured, a two-day price swing isn’t the only reason I’m getting more optimistic about my contrarian call on Europe.
Yesterday, I happened to speak with Morgan Stanley’s Head of Emerging Markets, Ruchir Sharma, who oversees more than $25 billion in investments. And he also believes Europe represents a compelling opportunity right now.
As far as specific European countries, he’s particularly optimistic about Germany’s prospects. The data backs him up, too.
The June consumer confidence reading in Germany came in higher than expected at 6.8. And analysts at GfK AG expect July’s reading to cross the board at its highest level since 2007.
Add it all up, and we could be approaching that critical turning point in sentiment for European stocks. Once that occurs, the buying will naturally follow suit.
And that’s where my recommendation of the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 Fund (NYSEARCA:FEZ) comes in…
Remember, it’s a low-cost, exchange-traded fund that invests in 56 of the bluest of blue-chip stocks in Europe. And it’s traded on a U.S. exchange, so we don’t have to worry about the hassle or expense of investing on overseas exchanges. (While Barron’s might forget about the little guys, we never will, because I’m one of them!)
What’s more, 33% of the fund is invested in German companies, including Bayer, Siemens and BASF.
Granted, the fund has failed to impress so far. It’s down about 1.8%, including dividends, since I first recommended it. But if the broad market rally in Europe over the last two days – along with the sentiment of some of the world’s most savvy investors – is any indication, we could be on the cusp of a breakout.
Bottom line: Being early doesn’t necessarily mean we’re wrong when it comes to contrarian investments. It just means we might have to wait a little while for average investors to wise up to the opportunity.
And thankfully, that moment might be upon us for European stocks. So don’t miss out.