Pro Perspectives 3/11/21

March 11, 2021

U.S. stocks hit new record highs today (indicies tracking small caps, blue chips, broad market … all of it). 

Before that, the European Central Bank ramped up the efforts in Europe this morning, with a  promise to "significantly" increase the pace of QE in the next quarter. And like the Fed, and White House economic voices, the ECB too downplays any inflationary expectation of aggressive policies, as short-term

Without question, they will continue to press the accelerator in Europe on stimulus (fiscal and monetary).  It's important to remember, the ECB had already re-started QE before the Pandemic (now ramped up to about $2.2 trillion).  And in response to the Pandemic, they've relaxed fiscal constraints in the European Union, allowing for fiscal stimulus from some of the weaker member-states.  That has been extended to 2023.    

Given this backdrop, and given the record highs in U.S. stocks, we've talked about the opportunities in European equities, which have lagged.

On that note, Italy continues to be one of the most interesting opportunities.  Remember, the former ECB head and architect of the global financial crisis recovery in Europe, Mario Draghi, is now the Prime Minister of Italy.  His "whatever it takes" strategy, as ECB chief back in 2012, saved the euro zone from a sovereign debt crisis.  

He's still getting his feet wet as leader of Italy.  But a bet on Italy here, is a bet on Draghi, his experience and his connections to the ECB and European Commission leaders.  It's a good bet, especially when you consider this chart above, which tracks Italian equities.   This breakout (in the chart) is just getting underway.