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Stocks to Buy: Why Warren Buffett Is Hunting in Europe

Investment guru Warren Buffett is looking for stocks to buy now in struggling Europe- a region many investors refuse to touch thanks to the destructive Eurozone debt crisis.  

But the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE: BRK.A; BRK.B) CEO told CNBC he's bought a couple smaller businesses in Europe over the last 12 months and also took positions in some European equities.

"We've bought some European stocks," Buffett said. "And the fact that there are troubles in Europe, and there are plenty of troubles, and they're not going away fast, does not mean you don't buy stocks. We bought stocks when the United States was in trouble, in 2008 and it was in huge trouble, and we spent $15.5 billion in three weeks in between September 15 and October 10."

One reason for Buffett's interest in Europe: plenty of cheap buys.

"It wasn't because the news was good, it was because the prices were good," Buffett said in the on-air interview of buying European stocks. "And if you believe that Europe is going to be around, which it certainly is, and it's going to have huge amounts of purchasing power with its citizens and all of that – then you actually look at trouble as possibly … offering you an opportunity to buy."

The Oracle of Omaha acknowledged Berkshire recently spent a couple billion euros on European stocks, adding he remains on the prowl for "good companies at cheap prices."

Even while the economic environment in Europe remains challenged, and consumer behavior in the region has changed, prospects abound.

Stocks to Buy Now: How to Play Europe

We recently spoke with Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald about Europe's investing opportunities.

'There's no doubt that Europe is an inherently risky proposition at the moment. But, sitting out of the markets entirely is even riskier," said Fitz-Gerald.

He said investors looking for profit plays in Europe should consider those companies with a global presence, especially those with strong sales in Asia and South America.

In fact, plenty of Europe's largest companies are not dependent on strong European economic growth. The continent is home to a plethora of world leaders in the luxury goods, autos, engineering and pharmaceutical sectors.

As Barron's recently noted, Europe looks attractive if you're examining certain numbers. The Stoxx Europe 600 trades at roughly 12.4 times forecast 2013 earnings, versus 13.7 times for the Standard & Poor's 500. Moreover, corporate earnings in Europe are projected to grow at 11% this year, better than the 10% expected in the United States.

Fitz-Gerald said if you do venture into European stocks, make sure to look for yield.

"Confine your choice to dividend payers; even though they're at risk from a continued deterioration of the euro, at 4% on average, they're higher than the average 2.5% yield on their American brethren and higher than the global average of 3% at the moment," said Fitz-Gerald.

Stocks to Buy: Five of Europe's Best Profit Plays

For investors who want to sniff out profits Buffett-style, are five steadfast European stocks with solid dividends and genuine global growth potential:

Join the conversation. Click here to jump to comments…

  1. Jeff Pluim | May 10, 2013

    Out of the 5 stocks, a moral investor would only be investing one of them, Vodaphone.
    An alcohol company, a tobacco company, and two big pharmas are not moral plays. It is amazing that there are no food companies or medical businesses not directly linked to the moralless big pharmaceutical companies, in your list.

  2. Ethan | May 10, 2013

    A tobacco company? Why would I give my money to people who make money off of killing hundreds of thousands of people a year with tobacco related illnesses?

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