When the head of the European Central Bank is saying that the 17-nation eurozone is “unsustainable,” you know that the market isn’t going to like it. All eyes this morning were on Spain as the nation tries to assure investors that it has a handle on its bank bailout program. Meanwhile, the debt tragedy continues to play out in Greece as the country heads towards yet another round of elections. And to round it out, there are now 11 European countries that are officially in a recession.
But although the market traded down in the first few hours of the day—losing nearly 100 points—investors have stepped in and are buying the dip. This is a very positive sign that Wall Street is weary of hearing about Europe, and although there is a lot of fear and uncertainty out there, folks are spending more time looking for opportunities in market dips rather than running for cover.
There’s a lot of wisdom in the phrase: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” And that’s exactly why I’m wrapping up the finishing touches on my Emerging Growth June issue—I’m not recommending a single sell this month, but I am recommending several brand-new buys!
Summer Stock Blowout Bargains
While the eurozone debt drama continues to distract the markets, big multinational blue chips are plugging along—buying back their stock, boosting their dividend yields and posting record operating results. Of the S&P 500 companies that reported first-quarter earnings, two-thirds beat expectations, and the average company posted over 7% earnings growth—and keep in mind that analysts had forecast just 1% growth.
And even though these companies are posting analyst-trouncing growth, many premium stocks remain tremendous bargains. In fact, the Price/Earnings ratio for the average S&P 500 company has fallen all the way to 16!
This means that there are an extraordinary number of buying opportunities out there, and the trick is to increase your equity exposure to only the fundamentally strongest companies with limited exposure to Europe. Take a look at our three-step action plan for the next several weeks:
Step 1: Reduce Your Exposure to Europe
This summer, I want you to avoid two sectors. First, I want you to steer clear of commodities (at least, for now). A major factor in the eurozone mess is that it is making the dollar stronger. In turn, as the dollar gets stronger, it puts downward pressure on commodities prices and, by extension, companies tied to commodities. As with all rules, there are a few exceptions here, but the takeaway is that we need to be very careful with any commodity plays that we have in our portfolios.
And as I have mentioned in earlier posts, I don’t want you getting anywhere near financial stocks. I’m a former banking analyst, and I can tell you firsthand that there are still just too many unresolved issues in the industry. All in all, financials were the worst-performing industry in the U.S. last year, and I don’t see this changing in 2012.
Step 2: Beat the Heat with Consumer Stocks
After clearing your portfolio of weaker stocks, like commodities and financials, there is one main thing you can do to ensure steady profits through the summer months. Wile Europe swelters in its pressure cooker, I want you to stick to the one real oasis amid the global economic slowdown—the U.S. economy. In particular, I want you to buy into the American consumer.
Consumer spending and consumer confidence have been on the rise in the past several months, and this has translated into robust bottom-line growth for America’s hottest retailers.
If you’re looking for a good place to start, I’ve covered the bases in a recent blog post—where I feature Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG), Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) as three especially good buys right now. Also be sure to take note of the three companies I recommend you avoid: Denny’s Corp. (DENN), Sonic Corp. (SONC) and Ruby Tuesday Inc. (RT).
Step 3: Stay Informed
There are so many new developments coming from Europe that I don’t want you to just load up on consumer stocks then ignore everything else. I’m confident in our ability to profit from the consumer boom in spite of Europe, but the fact remains that this is a shifting investment landscape, and it’s important to stay informed.
So while you are tailoring your summer investing strategy, you should also add my blog to your bookmarks so that you can keep tabs on the latest rumblings from Europe. I spend hours sorting through the major headlines, and share my insights with you daily.
So stay cool this summer, stay informed, and stay in touch with me as we navigate the troubled waters surrounding Europe.