Europe is a funny place/places.
First, there are widely different places, economically speaking. Second, in my direct experience, personal accounts are in a very much different state than are public accounts. Euros still remember the war, and are notorious mattress-stuffers--which, IMO, is a good thing. It provides a buffering effect.
Europe will grind along, always. They are wary, resilient, and incredulous.
The status of their public accounts also varies widely, depending on which country, and which dimension, you are talking about--some good, some not so bad, some disastrous.
There are also huge black markets operating all over europe, even western europe. Western governments, especially in France, have done everything possible to ensnare every transaction into taxation, and all property into recordation...and yet, individuals and families still manage to accumulate and preserve wealth.
Because they are mattress stuffers, accurate pictures of personal finances/wealth are never publicly presented. What I know is that there is a huge gap between the have's and the have-not's. Also, there is a significant black market in many things, especially in eastern/southern europe, but also in western europe, which IMO also acts as a buffer to the vagaries of publicly-known transactions.
Russia and England loom large in their effects on european economies.
Would I invest there at the moment? Maybe, but only in certain things, not in broad indexes, or even sectors. I am doing business over there, but have declined certain opportunities because of regulatory burdens going forward. The costs of doing business are still high, if you wish to do it entirely legitimately. If you wish to be less legitimate, you really need to know how to operate locally, and I admit that I do not.
I too am curious what would make someone believe it a good time to "invest in europe", in a public manner using open markets. I would feel alright if I lived there and had a stuffed mattress, but I would not feel confident as an exposed foreign investor. Make sure you hedge currencies.
Igy, do you have any opinion on the valuations of european stocks in general, as well as some specific european giants?