With the UK stock markets still somewhat sluggish since the Brexit vote, investors are looking to put their money in more lucrative markets.
On top of the US and Asia, many in the UK are now turning to European stocks. There are dozens of markets to consider – such as those based in Germany, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands.
In this guide, we discuss the best European stocks to buy in 2021. We’ll also explore which UK share dealing sites you should consider using to invest in European stocks from the comfort of your home.
Top 10 European stocks 2021
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 European stocks that we like the look of in 2021.
- Heineken – Best European Stock in the Food and Beverage Sector – Invest Now
- Total SA – Get This Top European Stock on the Cheap While you Still Can – Invest Now
- SAP – European Stock That is a Global Leader in Enterprise Software – Invest Now
- Nestle – Never Sell This Top European Stock (Switzerland)
- LVMH – Best European Stock for the Luxury Goods Market (France)
- Juventus Football Club – Invest in a Top European Football Stock (Italy)
- Airbus – Is This Top European Stock Undervalued?
- Unilever plc – Best European Dividend Stock
- Novo Nordisk – Best European Pharma Stock
- Vanguard FTSE Europe – Best European Stock ETF
Best European Stocks UK Reviewed
There are heaps of individual stock markets in Europe. In fact, there are many well-known brands that have opted to list their stocks domestically – as opposed to larger exchanges in the UK or US.
With that said, there are tens of thousands of European stocks available to purchase online in the UK – so the choice is plentiful.
To help you along the way, below we discuss the 10 best European stocks to buy in 2021.
Note: All of the best European stocks listed below are available to buy at FCA broker eToro commission-free. If buying European stocks from the UK the minimum investment at eToro is just $50 per stock.
1. Heineken – Best European Stocks in the Food and Beverage Sector (The Netherlands)
Heineken is one of the largest beer companies globally. The firm – which is headquartered in the Netherlands, now operates in over 70 countries. One of the main reasons why we like this European stock is that is potentially undervalued at current pricing levels.
For example, Heineken shares were priced at 52-week highs of €90 in February 2020. But, as per the wider impact that COVID-19 has on supply chain capabilities, the stocks then tumbled down to €68. With that said, Heineken stocks have recovered nicely, with a January 2021 price of €91.
This means that the upside potential is relatively attractive when you consider the upward trajectory the beer company was enjoying before the pandemic came to fruition. In terms of its listing, you’ll find Heineken shares on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange.
Your capital is at risk
2. Total SA – Get This Top European Stock on the Cheap While you Still can (France)
Total SA is a huge oil and gas company that was first founded in 1924. Much like the rest of the industry, Total SA was hit heavily by the pandemic. The price of oil itself hit 2020 lows of sub-$20 – which was devastating for the firm. After all, revenues generated by oil companies like Total SA are reliant on the global price of oil.
As such, the sheer lack of demand for oil has resulted in a significant stock price capitulation for the French company. For example, Total SA shares were priced at €50 in early 2020. Just a couple of months later the same shares were worth just €20. This translates into a stock price drop of 60%.
The good news is that this European stock has since recovered to €37. This is an increase of 85% since its 2020 lows of €20. However, Total SA still has a long way to go before it gets to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, if you buy the shares at €37 and they eventually get back to the €50 level, you’ll need a further upside of 35%.
Crucially, Total SA is well aware of the ever-increasing demand for more environmentally friendly energy sources. After all, management predicts that by 2030, just 35% of revenues come from conventional oil sales. With this in mind, Total SA is heavily invested in a range of renewable energies – subsequently ensuring that it is primed to play a role in the future of green power.
Your capital is at risk
3. SAP – European Stock That is a Global Leader in Enterprise Software (Germany)
If you’ve ever worked in an office-based role, there is every chance that you have come across SAP. The German powerhouse provides enterprise software for over 440,000 business in more than 180 countries. In terms of its shares, SAP is listed on the Xetra exchange in Germany.
Interestingly, this top European stock was enjoying a good period of success in mid-2020 before crashing in October. For example, SAP shares went from 2020 lows of €82 in March, up to 130 just seven months later.
However, in the space of two weeks, SAP stocks hit lows of €90. This represents a rapid decline of over 32%. The shares have, however, recovered to the €105 mark. But, even at this level, you can grab yourself a bargain.
Crucially, not only does SAP have strong cash flows, but it is in the process of taking subsidiary Qualtric public. SAP acquired the firm a little under two years ago for $8 billion – so the IPO is expected to raise a sizable amount of cash.
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4. Nestle – Never Sell This Top European Stock (Switzerland)
Nestle is a major Swiss company that specializes in packaged food products. In fact, the firm is behind over 2,000 global brands – many of which generated well over £1 billion in annual revenues. Some of the most well-known Nestle brands include Nescafe, Milo, Kit Kat, Perrier, and Hot Pockets.
All in all, Nestle is often described as a staple stock, as its products are generally in demand regardless of how the economy is performing. As such, it’s one of the best European stocks to buy if you are looking to focus on high-grade companies. The stocks – which are listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange, have been rewarding shareholders for 25 years.
Back when the stocks were first listed in 1995, you would have paid just $11 CHF. Fast forward to early 2021 and the same shares are priced at over $102 CHF. What we also like about this top European stock is that it has a great track record in paying dividends. Ultimately, while Nestle shares won’t make you rich – it’s a strong and stable stock to consider nonetheless.
Your capital is at risk
Your capital is at risk
5. LVMH – Best European Stock for the Luxury Goods Market (France)
Bearing in mind that the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in everyday consumers tightening their belts – you might be inclined to think that there isn’t much demand for luxury goods. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of French company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Some of the most famous brands under the LVMH umbrella including Louis Vuitton (Luxury handbags), Moët & Chandon (Champagne), and Hennessy (Cognac). The firm is also behind a range of luxury watches, jewelry, wines, and perfumes. In terms of its stocks, you’ll find LVMH shares listed on the Paris Stock Exchange.
Due to its market capitalization of over €250 billion, LVMH is also a constituent of the EURO STOXX 50 – an index fund for major players on the European Stock Market. When it comes to the historical performance of LVMH shares, you would have paid just €20 back in 1990.
And today? LVMH stocks are worth €515 in early 2021. That’s a huge increase of 3,300%. In more recent times, LVMH has defined the wider impact of the pandemic. With the stocks price at €278 in March 2020, LVMH shares have since grown by 85% in just over nine months of trading.
Your capital is at risk
6. Juventus Football Club – Invest in a Top European Football Stock (Italy)
Even if you’re not a fan of football, it’s all-but-certain that you have heard of Juventus Football Club. After all, the Italian Serie A team has been dominating European football for many, many decades. With that said, you might be surprised to learn that you can actually buy shares in Juventus Football Club. In fact, the shares have been listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 2001.
Had you made an investment back then, you’d actually be looking at a sizable loss. This is because the stocks were initially priced at €1.19 each. Fast forward to January 2021 and Juventus shares are worth €0.81. Sure, this is below the initial IPO price. But, we should make it clear that Juventus stocks have performed extremely well over the past five years.
This is because in early 2016, you would have paid just €0.24. As such, this represents five-year returns of over 237%. It goes without saying that by investing in Juventus Football Club shares, the upside potential is largely based on the success of the team. After all, the more trophies that Juventus wins, the more fans it will attract.
And in turn, the more revenues it can generate. Crucially, if Juventus is able to win its first UEFA Champions League since 1996, this is likely to have a huge impact on its stock valuation. As an additional benefit, at just €0.81 per stock, you’ll be able to own a sizable number of shares without needing to break the bank.
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7. Airbus – Is This Top European Stock Undervalued? (France)
Airbus – which is headquartered in France, is a global leader in the aerospace industry. It designs, builds, and subsequently distributes planes and helicopters on a mass scale. Now, it goes without saying that Airbus shares have been hit hard by the global travel restrictions.
After all, if passenger numbers are low, demand for its planes will follow suit. In fact, according to Boeing CEO David Calhoun – a direct competitor of Airbus, 2019 passenger numbers will likely not be seen again until 2023. As a result, Airbus stocks are worth considerably less than they were before the pandemic began.
For example, you would have paid just under €140 for each Airbus share back in February 2020. The stocks then hit lows of €48 just a month later – translating into a rapid decline of 65%. On the other hand, the shares have since been climbing northwards. As of January 2021,
Airbus stocks will cost you €89. However, this is still a far cry away from its February 2020 levels of €89. Sure, global air travel may not resume to pre-pandemic levels for several years. But, make no mistake about it – when things do go back to normal – Airbus will still be a market leader in this industry. As a result, buying this top European stock at €89 is arguably a bargain.
Your capital is at risk
8. Unilever plc – Best European Dividend Stock (The Netherlands)
Unilever is a huge global conglomerate that is behind over 400 brands. Its diversified portfolio of products covers everything from household goods, food, and personal care. Popular Unilever brands that you are likely to have come across include Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Dove soap, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
At the time of writing, Unilever carries a market capitalization of over €129 billion on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. As is the case with Nestle, Unilever is a strong and stable company that in most cases, will see its product’s in demand, irrespective of whether the economy is performing well.
As a result, this is yet another high-grade European stock to consider if you want to reduce your risk levels. Most importantly, Unilever is an excellent dividend-payer. Its most recent distribution attracted a yield of over 3.20%. Further, Unilever has been paying dividends for over 10 years straight, so investors have a long-standing track record to feed on.
In terms of its stock price, Unilever stocks were priced at €54 before the pandemic-related stock market crash that occurred in March. However, Unilever was pretty-much unaffected, only hitting lows of €46. In early 2021, the shares are priced at €49. As such, this resilient European stock was unimpacted by the virus and thus – is a great defensive company to consider buying.
Your capital is at risk
9. Novo Nordisk – Best European Pharma Stock (Denmark)
Although we are not overly keen on companies that are heavily reliant on a single product, an exception should be made for Novo Nordisk. For those unaware, Novo Nordisk is a Danish pharmaceutical company that specializes in diabetes drugs.
In fact, the firm commands a 30%-ish share of the type-2 diabetes treatment market, with more than 30 million patients reliant on its treatment. Sure, there is nothing innovative per-say about its business model. But, what Novo Nordisk does have is predictable incoming cash flows as a result of its recurring orders.
In terms of its shares, Novo Nordisk is listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. 757 billion Danish Krones – which is about £92 billion. In early January 2020, Novo Nordisk shares were priced as 382 Danish Krones. 12 months later, the same shares are worth 422 Danish Krones. This translates into modest 1-year returns of just over 10%.
Your capital is at risk
10. Vanguard FTSE Europe – Best European Stock ETF (Over 1,300 Stocks)
With thousands of European stocks to choose from across dozens of individual exchanges, knowing which shares to buy can be a daunting process. Additionally, the process of researching the ins and outs of a specific stock can be time-consuming and arguably – requires an understanding of fundamental analysis.
Taking this into account, it might be worth considering an ETF. For example, by investing in the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF, you will be buying a basket of over 1,300 European stocks. Crucially, this allows you to diversify into the European stock markets without needing to choose individual companies.
To give you an idea of some of the stocks that the ETF gives you access to, check out its top 10 holdings below.
- Nestle SA
- Roche Holding AG
- Novartis AG
- ASML Holding NV
- LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE
- AstraZeneca plc
- SAP SE
- Royal Dutch Shell plc
- Novo Nordisk A/S
As you can see from the above, many of the shares in the Vanguard ETF basket have been discussed in our list of the best European stocks to buy. But, in addition to the above, you’ll be investing in 1,300 other European companies. And of course – like most ETFs, you will also be entitled to dividends. This is usually distributed on a quarterly basis.
Your capital is at risk
How to Choose the Best European stocks for You
Although we have already discussed the best European stocks to buy in 2021 – we would suggest doing your own research. In doing so, you’ll be able to buy stocks that mirror your financial goals and appetite for risk.
There’s a lot to consider in this respect, so below we outline some handy tips on how to choose the best European stocks for you.
Look for Undervalued European Stock
If you buy an undervalued European stock, this means that you are paying a price that is below its ‘perceived’ value. In other words, you’re investing at a discount. Whether or not a stock is undervalued is somewhat subjective. But, there are various metrics that investors will look at to make this judgment.
At the forefront of this is the stock’s P/E (price-to-earnings) ratio. In its most basic form, this looks at the stock’s current price against that of its earnings-per-share. The result is a ratio that in some cases, can tell us whether a stock is undervalued (or even overvalued).
Now, there is no rule of thumb with what constitutes an undervalued ratio, as it really depends on the average found on the respective stock exchange and sector. For example, if Total SA has a P/E ratio of 57 but the average for oil stocks in Europe is 80, then the firm could be undervalued.
Focus on Specific Sectors
In terms of economic uncertainties, it’s best to think about which sectors are likely to thrive, and which sectors you should avoid. As a prime example, the coronavirus pandemic has shown just how devastating lockdown restrictions have been for those operating in the retail, oil, and airline sectors.
However, those active in online fashion and technology have excelled. Ultimately, by thinking about which sectors might do well in the coming months and years, you’ll hopefully be able to find the best European stocks for your personal investment profile.
Create a Diversification Plan
Diversification is the most important metric to take into account in your search for the best European stocks. This means that you will be buying stocks from various markets and sectors.
For example, you might decide to add European stocks to your portfolio from Germany, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark. Additionally, you might decide to focus on several sectors – such as banking, tech, consumer goods, and e-commerce.
Crucially, creating a diversified portfolio of the best European stocks will ensure that you are not over-exposed to a small number of companies and/or economies.
Buy a Combination of European Stock Types
Leading on from the above section on diversification, it is also important to consider buying several types of shares. For example, growth stocks will give you the chance to target larger gains, but equally, these come with more risk.
To counter this, you might want to consider buying some high-grade, blue-chip European stocks. Then, it’s worth adding some dividend stocks to your portfolio too, which will allow you to benefit from regular income payments.
Best Stock Brokers to Buy European Stocks
A lot of brokers in the UK only give you access to shares listed on the London Stock Exchange. As such, your next port of call is to find a reliable trading platform that allows you to invest in European companies. You also need to check whether any additional fees come into play – which they likely will. After all, UK brokers typically charge a premium when you buy foreign equities.
1. eToro – Buy European Stocks with 0% Commission
eToro is an FCA-regulated stock broker that gives you access to over 2,300 stocks across 17 exchanges. Many of its supported markets are based in Europe. For example, you can easily invest in companies listed in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and more. eToro also offers a wide selection of US stocks and Asian stocks.
In fact, each of the 10 shares that made our list of the best European stocks can be bought at eToro. In terms of fees, eToro is arguably the most cost-effective broker in the UK. This is because the platform does not charge any trading commissions – even on non-UK stocks.
The only fee that you need to take into account is a 0.5% charge on deposits. eToro is also worth considering if you are interested in an ETF that tracks the best European stocks. It now offers over 250 ETFs in total – all of which can be invested in on a commission-free basis.
In terms of getting started, the minimum deposit at eToro is $200. But, you can invest from just $50 into your chosen European stock as the platform supports fractional ownership. Plus, it’s really easy to fund your account – as eToro accepts debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and bank transfers.
- Super user-friendly online trading platform
- Buy stocks without paying any commission or share dealing charges
- Trade CFDs in the form of stocks, indices, commodities, forex, and more
- 2,400+ stocks listed on the UK and international markets
- 250+ ETFs
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or UK bank account
- Ability to copy the trades of other users
- FCA and FSCS protections
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
75% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. DEGIRO – Great Low-Cost Broker With Thousands of European Stocks
An alternative option to consider is Degiro. The online broker is popular in the UK as it offers competitive trading fees. For example, buying £1,000 worth of Bank of Ireland shares (Irish Stock Exchange) would cost you just £3.86 in commission, while £2,000 worth of Nestle shares (Swiss Stock Exchange) would cost £4.36.
Buying £4,000 worth of BMW shares (Xetra Stock Exchange) would cost just £5.36. Although eToro is cheaper and easier to use, Degiro does have a much larger library of European stocks. As such, if eToro doesn’t offer the specific company you are interested in, it’s worth diverting to Degiro.
On the flip side, Degiro deposits do take several days to arrive, as the broker only supports bank transfers. As such, and unlike eToro, you won’t be able to use your debit/credit card or e-wallet. Degiro does, however, allow you to fund your account without needing to meet a minimum – which is definitely a plus point.
- Very low fees to buy and sell stocks
- Thousands of stocks across multiple international markets
- One free ETF trade per month
- Also offers bonds and funds
- Good reputation
- Newly designed website makes it easy to invest
- Takes days to get your account set up
- Does not accept debit/credit cards or e-wallets
Investing at this trading platform involves risk of loss.
How to Invest in European stocks from the UK
Once you decide which broker you want to buy European stocks from, the investment process is relatively straight forward. That is to say, it’s usually just a case of opening a brokerage account, making a deposit, and then proceeding to buy your chosen shares.
However, if this is your first time buying European stocks online and you want a bit of guidance – check out the step-by-step walkthrough outlined below.
Step 1: Open an Account and Upload ID
eToro is our top-rated FCA broker as it allows you to buy the best European stocks without paying a commission. As such, your first port of call is to visit the eToro website and open an account.
Simply follow the on-screen instructions by entering your personal information and contact details. You will need to verify your UK mobile number via an SMS code.
Step 2: Confirm Identity
You will need to confirm your identity at eToro, as the broker is regulated by the FCA.
You can do this instantly by uploading a clear copy of the following:
- Valid passport or driver’s license
- Utility bill or bank account statement
Note: If you are not depositing more than $2,250 (about £1,800), you can upload the document later – but this does need to be before you can make a withdrawal.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
eToro will now ask you to deposit some funds.
The minimum is $200 and you can choose from the following payment options:
- Debit cards
- Credit cards
- E-wallets (Paypal, Skrill, or Neteller)
- Bank transfer
Step 4: Browse the Best European Stocks
If you know which European stock you want to buy, simply search for it.
Otherwise, you can head over to the ‘Trade Markets’ section and click on ‘Stocks’. You can then browse the many European stocks offered by eToro by clicking on your chosen sector or exchange from the dropdown list.
Step 5: Buy European Stocks
Finally, now you need to set up a buy order so that you can purchase your chosen European stock.
This simply requires you to enter the amount that you wish to invest. Irrespective of which currency the stocks are priced in, everything at eToro is denominated in US dollars. As such, enter your stake in the ‘Amount’ box – ensuring you meet a $50 minimum.
To confirm your order, click on the ‘Open Trade’ button.
In summary, if you want to build a portfolio of European stocks to diversify outside of the UK market, the process could not be easier. With that said, you still need to spend some time deciding which stocks you are interested in buying.
Although we have discussed what we think the best European stocks of 2021 are, it’s imperative that you perform your own research.
Once you are ready to start building your European basket of stocks, eToro makes the process easy. You won’t pay any commission and the FCA broker accepts a wide variety of intatnly-proceedsed payment methods.
eToro – Buy European Stocks with 0% Commission
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
How do you buy European stocks?
You first need to find an online broker that offers the European stock that you plan to buy. Then, it's just a case of opening an account, making a deposit, and deciding how much you want to invest.
What is the biggest European stock exchange?
The largest stock exchange in Europe is the Euronext. This is an exchange that connects several European markets together - including the Netherlands, France, Portugal, and Ireland.
What is the main European stock index?
The most traded European stock index is that of the EURO STOXX 50. This index contains the 50 largest European companies that are publically-listed. The DAX is also a major European index, which consists of 30 major German stocks.
Should I buy European stocks now that the United Kingdom has a trade deal?
The fact that the UK and EU now have a trade deal should have no impact on your ability to buy European stocks. After all, you will be going through a third-party broker that will have direct access to the Eurozone market you are interested in.
Do you need to pay stamp duty on European stocks?
No, stamp duty is only paid on shares that are listed on the London Stock Exchange.