What Recession? 5 European ADRs Up Big In 2012 (BUD, PHG, NVO, RYAAY, SAP, FXE, FEZ)

Europe is in the pits.  It is in a real recession, even if some countries have not officially declared it a recession.  And the falling Euro makes the imports that much more expensive.  Still, a weak currency does have some benefits.  Exporters can benefit as their exports become cheaper to foreign buyers.  Amazingly, some key European stocks are actually trading higher even in their ADRs so far in 2012.

24/7 Wall St. has evaluated many ADRs to see where the winners are. We do not track every single ADR but we do track well over 100 international companies whose ADRs are actively traded in New York.  We also did not include companies where the gain so far in 2012 was solely due to a pop today.

It is important to differentiate between the ADR and the ordinary shares on the local markets in Europe.  The reason is simple: the ADR takes into count the weakness in the Euro converted into dollars, so if it is up in dollar terms in 2012 then the returns are truly impressive.

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV (NYSE: BUD) is hard to imagine that it is not American any longer, but it is not and technically it is based in Belgium.  And it has grown massively in share price and via a recent acquisition. With a 4% gain on Thursday at $80.00 (a new 52-week high), the gain for 2012 is a whopping 34% after closing at $59.66 in 2011.

Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV (NYSE: PHG) is a conglomerate based in the Netherlands, and in some ways it is equivalent to General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) in America. The ADR closed at $19.90 at the end of 2011 and the stock is up at $21.83 as of today. The gain in 2012 so far has been 9.5%.

Novo Nordisk A/S (NYSE: NVO) is the Danish drug giant which is a global winner due to its diabetes drugs.  After a 2.5% gain to $149.70 on Thursday, its share price of $113.27 at the end of 2011 has now generated a gain of some 32% so far in 2012.

Ryanair Holdings plc (NASDAQ: RYAAY) is the Irish airline that flies to destinations from Ireland and England to and back from all over Europe for dirt-cheap airline tickets. With shares at $29.50 in New York on Thursday, the 2011 closing price of $27.86 has generated a gain of 6% so far in 2012.

SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) has been a winner again in enterprise software.  After years of getting its business pilfered by rival Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL), SAP has been winning again.  After closing out 2011 at $51.61, the share price of $63.00 on Thursday in New York has afforded a gain of 22% so far in 2012.  It is up almost 27% in local trading in Frankfurt.  And who said tech is dead?

To show how impressive this is, the key Eurozone stocks ETF of the SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (NYSEMKT: FEZ) is up 5% at $27.11 on Thursday after Mario Draghi’s comments, but the New York close of $28.51 at the end of 2011 still has that ETF down 5% so far in 2012. To show just how bad the Euro currency has tanked, the key CurrencyShares Euro Trust (NYSEMKT: FXE) closed out at $128.92 and that is up 1% at $122.13 on Thursday. That puts the currency down over 5% so far in 2012 and the peak around $134 at the end of February has the currency down almost 9% from its peak in 2012.

We recently pondered about how much money Warren Buffett may be down for Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK-A) after his investing in Europe, but what is funny is that he may not be down that much at all.


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