At the end of March, the RidgeWorth fund held stocks from across Europe but nothing from the hardest-hit countries, Greece, Portugal and Ireland. It had 12 percent of its fund in France and 4 percent in Sweden.
"There's not going to be a quick fix to Europe," Deakins says. "For value investors, it's a game of patience. You buy high-quality companies and wait it out."
Q: So the idea is that you buy and hold till things clear up. When will that be?
Good question. By the looks of it, not anytime soon. Daily news has alternated between reassuring and worrying. Spain nationalized Bankia, one of the country's largest banks. Some cheered the move, while others warned it could burden the government with more debt.
An election last weekend in Greece gave no political party enough votes to form a government, fueling speculation that Greece would miss a debt payment and maybe drop the euro currency. An election in France brought in a president who had pledged to scale back budget-cutting efforts across Europe and push for economic growth.
Q; How long till it's over?
An informal poll of five money managers yielded results from "I wouldn't try to guess" to "Who knows?" Jansen of ING says that the crisis could go on for 10 years.
Q: Why should I care? I'm not invested in Europe.
Not so. It's safe to say that if you own a stock fund, you're exposed to Europe. One vehicle of choice for 401(k) investors is the Standard & Poor's 500 index, a collection of large, publicly traded U.S. corporations. S&P estimates that the 500 companies in the index get 14 percent of their revenue from Europe. Overall, nearly half of revenue comes from abroad.
Some well-known U.S. companies lean heavily on Europe, according to data from Howard Silverblatt, S&P's senior index analyst. McDonald's and Kraft Foods get roughly a third of their revenue from Europe. For health care behemoths Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer, the region counts for a quarter.
Q: So what's the lesson there? I'm not supposed to sell my S&P fund, right?
That's the bad news about the troubled ship of Europe: We're on it, too.
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