In Europe, trade is front and center as the U.K. struggles to disentangle itself from its former partners in the European Union, explains fund expert John Bonnanzio, editor of Fidelity Monitor & Insight.
Although the global stakes relating to Brexit are not nearly as high as what’s occurring between the U.S. and many of its trading partners, southern Europe hasn’t fully recovered from the European debt crisis of a decade ago.
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Indeed, forecasted GDP growth rates for the so-called PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) vary widely, but low single digits are the norm with most expected to slow. For the broader eurozone, GDP growth is forecasted to slow to 1.6% this year, down from 1.9% a year ago.
That said, Fidelity Europe (FIEUX) has been up 5.7% over the past three years, and only 1.7% over five years. But it’s a new day at the fund.
With a new and experienced manager on board (Andrew Sergeant also runs Nordic fund), he’s overweighted Swedish stocks generally (19% versus 4% for his benchmark), and banks in particular.
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At the same time (and perhaps because he has rioting “yellow vests” on his mind), the fund is only 9% weighted in French stocks versus 18% for its benchmark.
In other words, Andrew is aggressively pursuing opportunities wherever he finds them (the fund’s active share is a robust 85%, meaning that he largely ignores benchmark stocks). If you like actively managed funds with a manager looking to make a name for himself, this is it.
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