Citigroup Says Switch From European Stocks to Emerging Markets

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Investors should rotate out of European equities into their emerging market counterparts thanks to a divergence in the economic trends underlying the two asset classes, according to Citigroup Inc.

The firm’s gauge of economic surprises is indicating a pattern disappointment in Europe, while remaining robust in emerging markets, wrote strategists including Jeremy Hale in an asset allocation note Thursday. Meantime, expectations for European earnings growth are the highest among developed markets and may be at risk of declining, they said.

“We think it makes sense to trim some developed-market specific risk at a time where near term probabilities are skewed to some regional economic surprise indexes turning negative again, led by Europe,” they wrote. “In equities, we remain slightly overweight overall, but recommend rotating out of European stocks and into EM given relative data trends.”

A gauge of the European economy fellunexpectedly in September amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases that has dampened investor ardor toward the region’s shares. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index has fallen more than 3% over the last 2 months, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is little changed.

EM equity relative valuations are attractive and there is evidence of inflows returning, the strategists wrote. One further plus-point for developing-nation stocks was the potential for a weaker dollar, they added.

“Fundamentals for the dollar will remain unsupportive medium term,” the Citi team wrote. “This a positive for EM risk assets.”

Elsewhere, the strategists moved underweight high yield U.S. corporate bonds, maintaining a preference for investment grade securities. They increased their weighting in gold.

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