First week shows promise in European equity markets

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THE first week of 2013 was a promising one for European equity markets, according to figures from the Russell Eurozone Index.

It returned 2.4 per cent in the first week of the year, with dynamic-oriented stocks outperforming defensive-oriented stocks at 3.4 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

It follows a similar pattern to that of the fourth quarter of 2012, when the dynamic index, at 8.3 per cent, outperformed the defensive index, at 4.1 per cent.

The Russell Eurozone Index has indicated that Greece was the top-performing country for the first week of 2013 at 8.7 per cent, followed by Finland at 5.3 per cent and Italy at 4.2 per cent.

Germany at 1.6 per cent, France at 1.9 per cent and the Netherlands at 2.2 per cent were the worst performing, coming in at the bottom of the table.

Investment strategist Wouter Sturkenboom, of Russell Investments Europe, said: “European equities remain volatile and far too dependent on policy progress yet have shown strong relative performance as evidenced by the recent index returns.

“Recent returns for the European equity markets suggest that crisis level policy concerns may have abated somewhat in this region as the US, at least temporarily, solved its ‘fiscal cliff’ issue.

“Strong performance by dynamic-oriented European stocks in the fourth quarter and 2013 to date suggests a continued ‘risk-on’ stance by European investors.”

The Russell Global Index includes more than 10,000 securities, classified according to size, region, country and sector, in 48 countries and covers 98 per cent of the investable global market.