Right now, the eurozone is home to bargain-priced opportunities that meet the value investing criteria of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
We picked three of the best European stocks to buy today. Let's take a look.
1. XL Group Plc (XL)
XL Group Plc is a global insurance and reinsurance entity, operating the newly acquired XL Catlin brand, offering property, casualty and specialty products to industrial, commercial and professional firms, insurance companies and other enterprises.
XL trades at 1 times price/book, lower than competitors including ACE Ltd at 1.3 times,Travelers Companies Inc. at 1.4 times, Chubb Corp. at 1.8 times and PICC Property and Casualty Co. Ltd Class H at 2.1 times.
In terms of returns, XL has delivered total returns of 12.60% year to date, beating the 9.78% delivered by property and casualty insurance stocks. The stock has in fact individually out-performed peers like ACE Ltd (1.71%), Travelers Companies Inc (9.91%) and PICC Property and Casualty Co Ltd PPCCY (11.19%) in 2015.
The company has been selective in insurance, especially whenever pricing is an issue. That's a good thing because it exhibits a strong sense of pricing discipline.
While the Catlin acquisition has meant that some short-term adjustments will happen like a dip in earnings for fiscal year 2015, analysts estimate the company to be back to 2014 levels in fiscal year 2016. Meanwhile, revenues continue to rise with fiscal year 2015 set to witness $8.2 billion (from the $5.7 billion in 2014) and the fiscal year 2016 top-line slated to cross the $10 billion mark.
On a relative basis, XL Group promises a good opportunity for value investors who judge a stock by Warren Buffett's time-tested criteria.
Ryanair Holdings provides airline-related services across a European route network. With IATA issuing a strong outlook for airline sector profits in 2016, Ryanair is a core airline holding opportunity worth your consideration.
The company is Europe's lowest fares/lowest cost carrier with a the No. 1 position in traffic as well as coverage. Ryanair has predicted a fiscal 2016 traffic target of 104 million-to-105 million customers and expects a long-term traffic target of 160 million-to-180 million by the fiscal year 2024.
The first half ending September 2015 saw profits surging by 37%, accompanied by a 14% jump in revenues, a 4% hike in net margins, load factor at 93% and an increase in average fare. October and November (winter) traffic have reflected year-over-year growth.
Here are three reasons why you should buy this stock:
1. A strong 4.58% dividend yield for its ADR trading in the U.S.
2. Solid share performance historically and great future expectations. In fact, when airline stocks on an average fell by 9% in 2015, Ryanair rose over 10%. If its performance continues, the alpha will endure.
3. A healthy rise in earnings-per-share (EPS) for fiscal year 2016 year, expected at $5 compared to $3.98 in 2015. Analysts estimate the company to deliver a $5.91 EPS for fiscal year 2017.
LyondellBasell Industries NV is one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world.
LyondellBasell makes products at 56 sites in 19 countries. The company has seen some very dark times recently: Its U.S. operations filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2009 and revitalized itself in 2010.
Led by CEO Bob Patel, the company's been listed as one of the 28 value names by Citigroup. At 8.5 times forward earnings, the stock is cheaper than peers like Dow Chemical (13.9 times), Eastman Chemical (8.7 times), DuPont (19.8 times) and Westlake Chemical (10.2 times).
With the company having generated $6.7 billion in cash from operations over the last 12 months and churning out a free cash flow (FCF) of $5.3 billion in the same period, we think valuing the company on a price-to-cash flow ratio makes better sense. It's a metric especially coveted by the champion of value investing, Warren Buffett.
After a dull 2014, the stock has sprung back to form in 2015 with a 14% total return year-to-date, beating specialty chemicals stocks' meager 3% gain. At a dividend yield of nearly 3.5%, the stock is an excellent opportunity for investors looking for income-generators (compare this to DuPont (2.6%), Dow Chemical (3.3%), Eastman Chemical (2.49%) and Westlake (1.29%).
With the company's outlook exhibiting consistent improvements, and the demand situation for chemicals sturdy at this time, LyondellBasell should deliver market-beating returns.
As 2016 looms on the horizon, what is Warren Buffett buying and selling today? For our free and detailed report on the Oracle of Omaha's latest investment choices, click here. Our report tells you exactly what Buffett is adding to Berkshire Hathaway and why.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.