Executive Optimism: Eurocentric Stocks Seeing Insider Buying

Ireland's economic collapse stirred up a maelstrom of speculation as to Europe's fate, fueled by worry over sovereign debt contagion. But while fears have yet to dissipate entirely, overall confidence across the pond is actually elevated -- according to an index of executive and consumer sentiment surveying the 16 euro nations, hopes haven't been this high since 2007.

Because despite uncertainty on the homefront, strong export growth in core countries is helping Europe's recovery keep pace.

Carsten Brzeski, senior economist at ING Group in Brussels, asserts that even while peripheral countries may suffer from imposed austerity measures, strong economies like Germany will continue to drive the European recovery. And much of Germany's economic activity owes to increased demand in emerging markets.

Take for example luxury car maker Daimler AG. The industry giant was able to raise its profit forecast after beating initial analysts estimates, thanks largely to strong sales in China. And generally speaking, manufacturers' production expectations and export orders appear to be trending upward.

But while Europe's reliance on foreign markets may be helping them weather the storm for now, this strategy may prove problematic down the line. One foreseeable issue is a strengthening euro -- weakened dramatically by Greece's debt crisis, Europe's currency has gained 11% since June, which makes their exports less competitive overseas.

And the economic outlook for the euro-region economy isn't quite as sunny as many had hoped: the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts a lag in recovery time behind the U.S. for at least the next couple of years.

There's still a lot of uncertainty around Europe's economic future, and it may be a while before things calm down. But that doesn't mean you can't start scoping out investing opportunities.

There are several U.S. companies with significant exposure to Europe-we want to know, what do these U.S. executives think about the European economy? Does company management have enough trust in the European recovery to invest in their employers and put their own money on the line? Insiders are privy to a lot more information than we are, so it can be helpful to see how they view their company's prospects ...

Here is a list of U.S. stocks with significant European exposure, seeing insider buying. For each company, we'll list the percentage of sales originating from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). For most companies, the largest portion of EMEA sales originate in Europe. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

Insider trading data sourced from AOL Money. The list has been sorted alphabetically.

Company

% of Sales From EMEA

Insider Transactions

Harman International Industries (NYSE: HAR  )

62%

Edward Meyer (Director) bought $199,777 worth of stock on 11/5
Lexmark International (NYSE: LXK  )

37%

Stephen Hardis (Director) bought $20,947 worth of stock on 10/4
Owens-Illinois (NYSE: OI  )

42%

Insiders like David Ho (Director) and Helge Wehmeier (Director) collectively bought $40,831 worth of stock on 10/7
Phillip Morris International (NYSE: PM  )

68%

Sergio Marchionne (Director) bought $152,175 worth of stock between 10/22-11/22

Interactive Chart: Press Play to see how analyst ratings have changed for all the stocks mentioned above.


Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen and Alicia Sellitti do not own shares of any companies mentioned.

Philip Morris International is a Motley Fool Global Gains recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Philip Morris International. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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