The Europe Stoxx 600
Comment of the Day

September 10 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Europe Stoxx 600

Eoin Treacy's view This index is a broad measure of equity market performance across Europe, representing a geographical rather than political or currency grouping. As such it includes companies from the UK, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway as well as the Eurozone countries. In comparing its performance to the broad Euro Stoxx Index of 298 shares, the outperformance of the pan European index over the last year highlights the comparative advantage of companies less exposed to the Eurozone's travails. I thought it might be interesting to look at the ratio of these indices in order to gauge if this is likely to remain the case.

The Europe Stoxx 600 Index / Euro Stoxx Index ratio trended consistently higher between 2008 and mid-2012 as the Eurozone in particular grappled with a deep recession. However, the ratio has lost momentum over the last year as the intensity of the issues facing the currency union abated; suggesting the indices are likely to at least perform in line.

In absolute terms, The Europe Stoxx broke out to new 4-year highs in April but pulled back sharply between May and late June. It then rallied impressively to retest the high and pulled back to test the region of the 200-day MA by late August. The Index has now returned to retest the 310 region for a third time and a sustained move below the 200-day MA would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside. The Euro Stoxx Index has a broadly similar pattern but has not yet broken above the psychological 300 level.

I performed a High/Low filter in the Chart Library this morning looking for European shares moving to new highs and therefore leading the wider market. Here is a link detailing how to perform your own filter searches using the Chart Library.

Among the Autonomies, in the automotive sector BMW broke emphatically out of what has been an almost two-year consolidation. In advertising WPP has broken up out of the most recent step in what remains a steep but consistent advance. In the industrial sector Siemens found support last week in the region of the 200-day MA and rallied to post new two-year highs. In the quality control segment Intertek Group is hitting new 3-month highs as it continues to rebound from the region of the 200-day MA. In the retail sector H&M and Inditex have both returned to test the upper sides of their respective ranges.

The Autonomies are also represented among companies hitting new lows with Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever in the consumer staples sector having fallen back to test the region of their respective 200-day MA where they appear to have found at least short-term support.

Also in the consumer sector Beiersdorf has returned to test the region of the 200-day MA and has at least paused. The UK's Home Retail Group on the other hand has been forming a first step above its yearlong base since April and broke out to new two-year highs today.

At The Chart Seminar in May, a Swiss delegate who has substantial property interests expressed anxiety at how high the price of residential and commercial property had soared and suggested that it represented a bubble. This came to mind when seeing PSP Swiss Property in the list of companies making new 12-month lows.

The share bottomed in early 2009 and trended persistently higher, finding support in the region of the 200-day MA on successive occasions, until June this year. It failed to hold the breakout to new highs in May and dropped to test the lower side of what has been a 12-month range. It encountered resistance in the region of the 200-day MA in July and dropped to new lows yesterday. The share has steadied today but a sustained move above CHF85 will be required to question top formation characteristics.

I reviewed a number of European steel companies in the Comment of the Day on August 14 th and some of these companies are likely to benefit as the Chinese economy returns to a more expansionary trajectory. Voestalpine broke successfully above €30 in August and continues to range with an upward bias. Vallourec ranged with an upward bias from mid-2012 and broke successfully above €44 in August. A sustained move below that level would be required to question medium-term scope for additional upside. Arcelor Mittal is testing its recent highs and looks more likely than not to sustain an upward break.

The resources sector has been among the most unloved this year so it is notable that both Glencore and Anglo American have posted new three-month highs in the last week and have completely unwound .their respective overextensions relative to their trend means. Boliden broke successfully back above its 200-day MA last week. Eramet trended lower for much of the year but found support from July and broke out to new three-month highs today.

It is also noteworthy that mining and excavation machinery manufacturer Atlas Copco continues to hold a broad upward bias within what has been an almost three-year consolidation and is now testing its peak following an impressive rebound since July.

The commonality of relative strength across the steel, mining, machinery and industrial sectors suggests that perceptions of the potential for growth in the global economy are improving which should be positive for stock markets generally.

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