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Everyone's Bullish on Europe, so Maybe You Shouldn't Be

If you've got a chunk of your portfolio invested in European stocks and have a contrarian sensibility, you may find this email subject line, accompanying a report from Standard & Poor's Fund Services, disturbing: "European equity fund managers are unanimous in their agreement that the recovery in Europe will continue."

Peter Fuller, lead analyst at S&P Fund Services, elaborates in the report (which is not available for public consumption): "It's not often that a unanimous verdict flows back from fund managers, but this does seem to be one of those rare occasions. While still cautious that markets have come so far, so quickly, virtually all of the managers interviewed last week expect further gains to follow, particularly in Continental Europe."

What's wrong with that? As any contrarian knows, the more widespread an opinion is, the less likely it is to be proven correct. If a fund manager expects European shares to continue rising, chances are that he has already put his investors' money there; that's what he's paid for, after all.

If nearly every portfolio manager feels and acts that way, then who's left to put in the extra cash needed to keep markets moving higher? By contrast, there will be no trouble finding investors to take money out of the region if a negative surprise comes along.

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