The Suddenly Tedious Lives of European Equity Market Strategists

n the recent past, European stock strategists have been called upon to sort out Greek politics, judge sovereign solvency risk, and gauge the impact of wars in places like Ukraine. The job has been many things, but rarely has it been boring — until now.

For the first time in two years, analysts trying to fathom the direction of Europe’s equities just left their forecasts unchanged for two straight months, and are on average expecting flat returns for shares. From Germany to Spain, economies are growing — butno data point has proven strong enough to stem the longest stretch of outflows from European stock funds since the financial crisis.

It’s not like strategists have done a bad job of calling the market. Last year, they came within 2 percent of nailing the Stoxx Europe 600 Index’s annual move and quickly adjusted estimates in January when equities started falling anew. The problem has been the market itself, which despite looming dramas like Brexit has shown a propensity to grind in the place it was at for the better part of three years.


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