Investing

5 Dividend Stocks to Buy as European Index Crushes S&P 500

After years of underperformance, the STOXX Europe 600 is mauling the S&P 500 this year, and it is a trend that could continue for a while. The large European index is already up 14% this year, versus the S&P 500’s 2.52% gain. While there are many variables to consider, moving some capital across the pond may be a solid move now. A new report from Deutsche Bank cites several positive reasons for the current outperformance.

The 11% margin the European bourse has over the S&P 500 two months into the trading year is the biggest difference in 25 years, which is truly staggering. The Deutsche Bank team points to a very convincing quantitative easing strategy that begins this month, improving macroeconomic data, and strong equity inflows that have pushed markets higher despite the constant turmoil in Greece, and the country’s possible exit from the euro at some point.

We screened our Wall Street research database for top European stocks to buy now.

ASML Holding N.V. (NASDAQ: ASML) engages in designing, manufacturing, marketing and servicing semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits or chips worldwide. It provides the PAS 5500 family products that comprise wafer steppers, and step and scan systems suitable for the i-line, krypton fluoride, and argon fluoride processing of wafers. ASML’s guiding principle is continuing Moore’s Law toward ever smaller, cheaper, more powerful and energy-efficient semiconductors, and last week the photo-lithography systems supplier announced a new high mark for extreme ultraviolet lithography productivity.

ASML investors are paid a small 0.8% dividend. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $105.95. The stock closed way above that on Friday at $107.68.

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ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING) recently announced the resumption its dividend, for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. ING provides banking, investment, life insurance and retirement services for individuals, families, small businesses, large corporations, institutions and governments. The company accepts various deposits products, such as current and savings accounts, and offers business lending, mortgages, consumer lending, cash management, corporate finance, real estate and lease products.

ING investors are paid a 1.8% dividend. The consensus price target for this top financial stock is $13.59. Shares closed well above that figure Friday at $14.83.

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) recently announce a deal with T-Mobile to accelerate the deployment of small cell units that operate in the unlicensed radio bands. The companies are jointly developing a pre-standards LTE-U (LTE unlicensed) small-cell solution for additional LTE capacity and improved network performance. Nokia was once the biggest smartphone maker in the world, but it was slow to adapt to the new generation of devices that came along after the original iPhone launched in 2007. Microsoft bought the company’s devices and services division in 2013 for $7.2 billion, and it freed the company from its downward spiral in the cellphone industry. When Nokia announced its business outlook for 2015, the telecommunications equipment company stated that it expects overall sales at its Nokia Networks division to grow over the 2014 levels

Nokia investors are paid a 2.0% dividend. The consensus price target is $9.46. The shares closed trading on Friday at $8.01.

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Novartis A.G. (NYSE: NVS) is actually the world’s biggest drugmaker by sales and is also is the manufacturer of the fourth top-selling oncology drug in the world — Gleevec. It released data for a top pipeline drug LCZ696 in November from a randomized, double-blind study that showed that LCZ696 reduces the occurrence of sudden deaths, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, deteriorating symptoms and the need for more intense treatment in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction as compared to enalapril. The drug is an investigational combination one consisting of two antihypertensives (blood pressure lowering drugs), valsartan and AHU-377. The Wall Street buzz is the drug could be a blockbuster for Novartis.

Novartis investors receive a 2.7% dividend. The consensus price target is $103.57, and Novartis closed Friday at $102.40.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC (NYSE: RDS-A) has survived the oil pricing plunge as good as or better than any other major integrated stock. The company operates as an independent oil and gas company worldwide. It explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. It also converts natural gas to liquids to provide fuels and other products. Shell recently won a significant victory recently in its ongoing $3 billion fight with India’s revenue authorities, in a judgment with implications for dozens of tax disputes involving multinational companies in Asia’s third-largest economy. Any lift in the energy market next year could make this a top stock to own.

Royal Dutch Shell investors are paid a very solid 4.7% dividend. The consensus price target for the euro oil giant was not posted. Shares closed Friday at $65.37.

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Owning a few top European stocks in a well-balanced portfolio makes good sense at this juncture, especially with the U.S. markets hovering near all-time highs. These five blue-chip companies are suitable for almost any long-term growth portfolio.