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Top 5 European Mutual Funds

Recent developments clearly signal the return of stability and buoyancy to European markets. The region's financial system has passed safely through rough weather and banks and financial systems alike have responded favorably to the central bank's stress tests. With a mix of mature and emerging markets, the region offers investors a balance between growth opportunities and secure investment destinations. European mutual funds offer investors these unique advantages along with the benefits of diversification and professional management.

Below we will share with you five top-rated European mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks No. 1 rank, meaning they're a strong buy recommendation, as we expect these mutual funds to outperform their peers in the future.

Putnam Europe Equity A (PEUGX) invests at least 85% of its assets in European companies. The majority of the fund's assets are used to buy common stock, primarily common stock of European firms. It invests in companies regardless of their market capitalization. The European mutual fund returned 8.08% in the last one-year period.

The European mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $500 and an expense ratio of 1.47% compared with a category average of 1.72%.

T. Rowe Price European Stock (PRESX) seeks long-term capital growth. The fund invests heavily in companies in Europe. It usually invests in at least five countries at any given time. Common stocks constitute its major investments. The European mutual fund has a five year annualized return of 2.8%.

Dean Tenerelli is the fund manager and has managed this European mutual fund since 2005.

Ivy European Opportunities A (IEOAX) invests at least 80% of assets in equity securities of European companies. The fund focuses on acquiring preferred and common stock and convertible securities. It invests in companies of all sizes, selecting small-cap companies in developed markets. The European mutual fund returned 5.24% in the last one-year period.

As of June, this European mutual fund held 74 issues, with 3.21% of its total assets invested in Nestle.

JPMorgan Intrepid European A (VEUAX) seeks capital appreciation over the long term. The fund focuses on acquiring equity securities of companies with significant business operations in Western Europe. Up to 20% of its assets may be invested in debt securities that are not dollar denominated. The European mutual fund has a 10-year annualized return of 3.85%.

The European mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $1,000 and an expense ratio of 1.51% compared with a category average of 1.72%.

Fidelity Europe Capital Appreciation (FECAX) invests primarily in European securities and instruments with linkages to the European continent. It invests in a particular economy keeping in mind its importance relative to the region as a whole. The European mutual fund returned 3.86% in the last one-year period and has a five-year annualized return of 2.15%.

Melissa M. Reilly is the fund manager and has managed this European mutual fund since 2007.

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