The debt crisis of Europe is effectively over, thanks to the latest efforts of Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank (ECB), and supported by the all clear given to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). You can look to the turn achieved by U.S. stocks in March 2009 for guidance into the huge capital gains possible for European markets now. Of course, some of those gains have already been taken since the bold statement of the ECB chief in late July. The iShares S&P Europe 350 (NYSEARCA:IEV) has charged forward approximately 15% since the July 26 statement, and American banks with ties to global markets are up even more. Yet, European shares and relative securities could have much more to gain. On the other hand, the dynamic risks of the day could also alter the path of Europe from that taken by American stocks following our financial crisis.
Source: Yahoo Finance
In March of 2009, it seemed to most Americans, and especially stock market participants, that all was lost. Yet, in the depths of the financial crisis, and well before economic recovery began, stocks marked bottom. That fateful day, March 3, 2009, was the point of inflection. From that day through the end of 2009, the SDPR S&P 500 Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY) gained roughly 63%.
Obviously, serious obstacles remain that might alter the recovery scenario for Europe. For instance, if war breaks out in the Middle East involving Iran, Israel, other Middle Eastern nations and global powers, all bets are off. The Iran war factor is neither negligible nor insignificant.
Likewise, political disruption within struggling European nations could alter the path for European shares. For instance, the last elections in Greece reflected the frustration of the Greek people with harsh austerity and almost led to Greece's withdrawal from the euro zone. The result of such an event could have driven similar change in other PIIGS nations, and taken the euro-zone in a completely different direction. Those risks remain.
Finally, economic deterioration within Europe could spark concern again. For instance, if the rating agencies, Standard & Poor's and Moody's, downgrade Germany's sovereign debt rating, that would reignite concern. A warning has already been issued to Germany, and its economy has begun to show cracks.
Another group that should benefit substantially from gains made by Europe are the banks with substantial risk tied to the region and the system. This is why the shares of Citigroup (NYSE:C), Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have participated in the latest three months of gains. Shares of Citigroup , for instance, are up 32% since July 26 -- the rest of the group is up similarly. It's quite ironic that it was Citigroup that sparked the turnaround in American stocks in 2009, when it first reported good news. Other bankers, including Jamie Dimon of JPM, added to the change in tone and stocks never looked back.
Source: Yahoo Finance
In conclusion, I reiterate that while substantial opportunity exists for European and related securities, special dynamic risks could hamper the repeat of what American stocks accomplished in 2009. As always, you are advised to pay close attention to developments and risks, and welcome to follow my feed, which will likewise do so.