Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Many great companies — surprisingly — are in Europe. Invest in Europe, where there is sky-high unemployment and little history of respect for shareholders’ concerns? Yes, because there are some positive developments under way: European companies are just beginning the restructuring process that has taken place in the U.S. In the past, most European companies were poorly managed or not big enough to compete globally. Protected in their home markets, they could afford to cling to obsolete methods, but that is changing under the pressure of global competition. European companies can offer good values. On average, they earn half as much per dollar of sales as American companies do. As a result, their stocks are much less expensive than U.S. stocks, using price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios. European companies realize that they’ve fallen behind so they need to restructure, just as American companies have done. When that happens, Europe stocks could surge.