Italy’s political mayhem has taken U.S. investors by surprise. Italy’s president, for the time being, restricted the formation of a new government backed by two euroskeptic, anti-establishment parties. But, if these populist parties win the upcoming election, it could endanger Italy’s membership in the single currency. Such likelihood sparked a global selloff, sparing neither European nor U.S. investors.
But, let’s admit that the stock market has weathered many debt and currency storms, including “Brexit” and “Grexit”. Based on such positive historic trends, investors should snap up solid stocks that will make the most of a stock market comeback in the near term.
Italy’s Political Scenario
Italy’s March election failed to yield definite results. Last weekend, the anti-establishment maverick 5 Start Movement and far-right League were on the verge of forming a coalition government. But, Italian president Sergio Mattarella blocked the coalition government. Mattarella vetoed the appointment of former industry minister Paolo Savona, who has been backed by the populist coalition. The 81-year old economist was proposed to help Italy reduce public debt and boost a weak banking sector.
Savona, however, is also known to have criticized the European Union and European integration which hasn’t gone down well with Mattarella. Instead, Carlo Cottarelli, a former International Monetary Fund official, has been asked by Mattarella to form a new government. But, it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to win a vote of confidence in the parliament and would thus continue to remain as the caretaker government till fresh elections take place.
What Italy’s Crisis Means for European and US Investors
Investors are worried that if the populist parties win the election, it can lead to the Eurozone’s third largest economy leaving the shared currency. This in turn will, without doubt, disrupt Europe’s status quo. Italy’s efforts to abandon the shared currency will not only affect Europe but also U.S. markets. Any attempt to ditch the euro will hamper “euro boom” and delay the U.S. monetary normalization process.
The euro tanked to a six-month low versus the dollar on May 29, while Italian stocks led European equities lower. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 1.4%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB closed 2.7% lower. This selloff, even, spread to Wall Street. The Dow Jones lost nearly 400 points and erased year-to-date gains.
The broader S&P 500 also shed 31.47 points, with nine of the 11 main sectors finishing in the red. Financials led the declines, down 3.4%, tracking declining Treasury yields. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped 16 basis points to 2.772%, the steepest drop since Brexit vote in June 2016. Political turmoil in Italy drove demand for safe havens such as U.S. and German government paper, pulling down yields.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq declined 37.26 points, or 0.5%, to 7,396.59. Market volatility gauge, in the meanwhile, hit a 2-month high as Italy’s political mess sparked a global equity selloff.
Why is Italy’s Crisis a Buying Opportunity?
Even though Italy’s troubles are casting a pall over the financial markets, it does provide a buying opportunity for astute investors. It’s not the first time that countries facing debt burden and restrictive fiscal and monetary policies are threatening to pull out from the single currency regime. In the prior crises, stock investors did freak out, but more often than not, it recovered quickly. In fact, the stock market in a very short span bounced back to the level prior to the crisis.
The best example will be the stock market’s reaction to the U.K.’s June 2016 referendum to exit the European Union. The Dow Jones nosedived almost 1,000 points in the two trading sessions following the vote. But, it took just eight subsequent trading sessions for the blue-chip index to reach where it was before the Brexit vote.
Also, consider the market’s reaction to the debt crisis in Greece. In the subsequent years, a slew of fiscal and monetary deals were struck between the Greek government and the stronger European allies. This soothed investors and helped the stock market rally in the wake of the looming threat.
Flip Italy’s Political Hullabaloo With These 5 Top Stocks
Going by the above-mentioned trends, it’s widely expected that the stock market will discount Italy’s crisis in the near term. A smart investor, thus, should bet on fundamentally solid stocks that will make the most when the broader market moves north. Also, by purchasing stocks right after a dip, investors are essentially buying shares at a discounted price.
We have, thus, selected five such stocks that should make meaningful additions to your portfolio. These stocks flaunt a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy).
ASGN Incorporated (ASGN - Free Report) provides IT and professional services in the technology, digital, creative, healthcare technology, engineering, life sciences, and government sectors. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2. In the last 60 days, three earnings estimates moved north, while one moved south for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 4.3% up in the same time frame. The company’s shares lost 1.6% on May 29. But, the stock’s expected growth rate for the current year is 34.1% versus the Computers - IT Services industry’s projected rally of 13%.
The Boeing Company (BA - Free Report) designs, develops, manufactures, sales, services, and supports commercial jetliners. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2. In the last 60 days, nine earnings estimates moved north, while none moved south for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 4.4% up in the same time frame. The company’s shares fell 2.1% on May 29. The stock’s estimated growth rate for the current year is 21.6% versus the Aerospace - Defense industry’s projected rally of 14.4%.
Blue Hills Bancorp, Inc. (BHBK - Free Report) operates as the bank holding company for Blue Hills Bank that provides financial services to individuals, families, small to mid-size businesses, government, and non-profit organizations in Massachusetts. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #1. In the last 60 days, one earnings estimate moved north, while none moved south for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings rose 10.8% in the same period. The company’s shares lost 0.5% on May 29. But, the stock’s expected growth rate for the current year is 64.3% versus the Banks - Northeast industry’s projected rally of 24.8%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Burlington Stores, Inc. (BURL - Free Report) operates as a retailer of branded apparel products in the United States. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2. In the last 60 days, three earnings estimate moved north, while none moved south for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 0.3% up in the same time frame. The company’s shares have fallen 0.3% on May 29. But, the stock’s expected growth rate for the current year is 34.3% versus the Retail - Discount Stores industry’s projected rally of 19.1%.
Comerica Incorporated (CMA - Free Report) , through its subsidiaries, provides various financial products and services. The stock currently has a Zacks Rank #2. In the last 60 days, 14 earnings estimates moved north, with no movement in the opposite direction for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings has moved 4.9% up in the same time frame. The company’s shares have fallen 4.1% on May 29. But, the stock’s estimated growth rate for the current year is 40.9% versus the Banks - Major Regional industry’s projected rally of 25.5%.
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