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Must politics always weigh on European stocks?

Sentiment towards European equity markets is always defined in terms of political challenges. Should we expect the same in 2019?
Must politics always weigh on European stocks?

Europe is a complex place. Its economies, parliaments and legal systems are many, and yet whole. At the continent’s core is a monetary, fiscal and political union that frustrates and is welcomed by its constituent members in equal measure. Its companies are a hodgepodge of national names and transnationals of varying reach.

Such complexity, particularly when stacked against national economic blocs, goes some way to explain why investor sentiment towards the continent seems perennially subdued. Recent history might also be to blame. The eurozone debt crisis of 2011 may have had its technical fix, but in the scar tissue is a reminder that each national predicament harbours the threat of a continent-wide virus. And so long as uncertainty predominates, the thinking goes, stocks will waver.

State Street Global Advisers, which manages around $2.8 trillion (£2.2 trillion) of assets, epitomises this view in its 2019 global investment outlook, which contends that “European equities [will] continue to be hamstrung by regional politics”.

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