Market Overview

Lloyds, Luxottica and Other European Stocks Worth a Look

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Following news that European leaders have agreed on new initiatives to settle the financial crisis in the region, Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS) issued a report highlighting some asset classes its analysts favor: Italian stocks, French stocks and UK-based banks.

Investors considering Italian stocks may want to have a look at Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX). This Milan-based producer and retailer of luxury and sports eyewear has a market capitalization of around $15.7 billion. It also offers a dividend yield of about 1.8 percent and a long-term earnings per share (EPS) growth forecast of 12.1 percent. Short interest is less than 1 percent of the float. Over the past six months, shares have rallied more than 23.9 percent. Over that time, the stock has outperformed other luxury goods makers such as Coach (NYSE: COH) and Tiffany (NYSE: TIF).

Gentium (NASDAQ: GENT), a biopharmaceutical company, and Natuzzi (NYSE: NTZ), a furniture maker, are small-cap Italian companies. Shares of each are up more than 20 percent year to date.

The top-performing French stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange is Veolia Environnement (NYSE: VE). This Paris-based company provides environmental management services. Its market cap is near $6.7 billion. It has a dividend yield of about 6.9 percent and its long-term EPS growth forecast is 15.7 percent. Short interest is less than 1 percent of the float. In the past six months, shares are up more than 31 percent. The stock has outperformed U.S.-based Waste Management (NYSE: WM) and the S&P 500 year-to-date.

As for UK banks, the Credit Suisse report specifically named Lloyds Banking Group (NYSE: LYG). Lloyds share price is up more than 22 percent in the past month. It has a market cap near $33 billion and a long-term EPS growth forecast of 50.0 percent. Its PEG ratio is less than the industry average. Again, short interest is less than 1 percent of the float. Over the past six months, the stock has outperformed competitor Barclays (NYSE: BCS).

HSBC Holdings (NYSE: HBC) is also a money center bank. Shares are trading more than 17 percent higher year-to-date. The long-term EPS growth forecast is 30.3 percent and the dividend yield is about 4.1 percent. Its price-to-earnings ratio (PE) is about 10.9. And short interest is less than 1 percent of the float. The stock has outperformed Barclays, as well as the S&P 500, over the past six months.

Churchill Downs, Luxottica and Others Analysts Are Bullish On

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