Europe's stock markets are scorching hot so far this year. Fortunately, it's a big continent. So while you may have missed the boat in the U.K. and Spain, markets such as France and Germany -- especially Germany -- still have lots of room to run.And in this column, I'm going to give you three picks you can use to add exposure to Europe's stock markets to your portfolio. For 2006 to date, the German DAX index has generated a total return of 10.6%. The French CAC 40 has returned 7.6%. Not bad for two months' work. And it's especially attractive in comparison with the 3.3% return on the U.S. S&P 500 index in 2006 to date. Why have these European indices beaten their U.S. counterparts so badly in 2006 -- continuing a trend from 2005, by the way? Three reasons. The French and German economies are showing much stronger growth, compared with their past performances. And, I should add, that's a much bigger improvement in growth than the U.S. is seeing. The German economy, to take the strongest example of these trends, now looks like it will grow by 2% in 2006. That doesn't sound like much in comparison with the 3.6% growth churned out by the U.S. economy in 2005, as measured by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD. But it represents a huge 80% improvement from the 1.1% growth recorded in 2005. France, projected to increase its growth rate to 2.1% in 2006 from 1.6% in 2005, shows a smaller 30% improvement. U.S. economic growth, meanwhile, is expected to shrink to 3.5% in 2006 from 3.6% in 2005. U.S. money managers and investors concede that some companies in Europe are acting more like their U.S. counterparts. This is in direct contrast to the oft-repeated knock that European companies are hobbled by management-hobbling workplace rules and expensive social policies. This new trend is either great, because it means increased economic rationality, as it's defined in the U.S. Or it's terrible, because it threatens to destroy a European social system that is much more egalitarian than that in the U.S.