NEW YORK ( Stockpickr) -- U.S. investors have been repeatedly told that it pays to bring international exposure to your portfolio. It's good advice. Foreign investments help you capitalize on the key trends playing out elsewhere in the world and reduce the chance that your nest egg will fail to grow if the U.S. market treads water.
Yet in recent quarters, foreign exposure has been a millstone as major stock markets across the globe of been slumping badly. Investing in Europe has been especially painful. For example, the Vanguard Europe ETF (VGK), which owns a basket of European blue chips, has underperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 25 percentage points over the past 12 months.
Not only have European markets lagged our own markets, but the weakening euro has magnified the underperformance. Right about now, investors are avoiding Europe like the plague. And that's a shame. Because some of the continent's best-run companies are now verifiable bargains. They've been dragged down by a scary economy, yet their exposure to the entire globe -- not just Europe -- means they're healthier than you might suspect.Here are five deeply discounted European blue-chips, all of which can be bought on U.S. exchanges. These stocks are now simply too cheap to ignore.