Irish stocks outperform the BRICs

Irish stocks were the ‘standout performer’ of 2011, European Asset Trust said. Irish equity rose +18.1% in Euro terms, outperforming the high growth markets of Brazil, India and China.

European Assets Trust’s annual results show Irish stocks such as Paddy Power and Glanbia contributing considerably to the trust’s success.

Fund manager Sam Cosh of F&C said: “This reflects the fact that Ireland has approached the crisis with pragmatism and an acknowledgement of the need to make significant adjustments. They have managed to rebalance their savings and investments and regain their competitiveness. Unit labour costs have fallen dramatically from the peak (-30 per cent), which is in marked contrast to the other peripheral countries which have not made enough progress on this front.”

The Amsterdam-based trust, which trades in listed SMEs in Europe, excluding the UK, pays out a 6% dividend of year end net asset value, and in 2011 offered a -9.9% sterling net asset value total return per share, against -23.8% for the benchmark HSBC Smaller Europe ex UK Index.

Commenting on the outlook for Europe, fund manager Sam Cosh said:  “We think there is a huge amount of potential within European small and medium sized companies. Valuations are attractive, and although the start of the year has been positive, allocations towards the region are very low. Being less well researched than its large-cap counterpart, the small and mid cap universe in Europe offers plentiful opportunities to find hidden gems and add value from a stock picking perspective.”

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