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3 Italian Stocks for Your Watchlist

http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2012/04/13/3-italian-stocks-for-your-watchlist.aspx

John Maxfield
April 13, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I've spent a lot of time analyzing the ongoing crisis in Europe. Unlike the economy here in the United States, which is improving, however slowly, the economy in Europe continues its downward spiral. Just last week, Spain reported that its unemployment rate rose to 23.6% in February, and data indicate an eighth straight month of contraction in the eurozone's manufacturing sector.

European equity markets have responded in kind. Over the last year, the primary Italian Index, the FTSE MIB, has lost nearly 30% of its value. With value investors in mind, I've highlighted three Italian stocks to add to your Watchlist, our free stock tracking service here at The Motley Fool.

1. Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX  ) -- Add to My Watchlist.
Started in a small town in Northern Italy, Luxottica Group is now the world's largest manufacturer of sunglasses and prescription eyewear. Its stable of house brands includes Ray-Ban, Oakley, REVO, Arnette, and Vogue. And its collection of licensed brands is a veritable who's-who of the fashion industry. Among others, it includes Burberry, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Donna Karan, Prada, Tiffany, Versace, and Coach.

Luxottica is also the foremost retailer of eyewear around the world. In North America, it owns and operates a multitude of retail outlets including Sunglass Hut, LensCrafters, and Pearle Vision. And in South America, the group controls Multiopticas, a company managing more than 470 optics stores with brands like Sun Planet and Econopticas.

The stock trades for 27 times earnings, and pays a 1.3% dividend yield. It's up about 24% since the beginning of the year.

2. Eni (NYSE: E  ) -- Add to My Watchlist.
Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company, nearly a third of which is owned by the Italian government. While it's one of the smallest major integrated energy producers, it's nevertheless the 23rd largest company in the world by revenue, with 2011 revenues of $132 billion and profits of more than $8 billion.