Even the luck of the Irish couldn't save the Emerald Isle from its current economic mess. Fortunately, the European Union and International Monetary Fund have come to Ireland's aid, currently working with the debt-plagued country to hammer out a rescue package.

But the bailout hasn't seemed to have alleviated investor fears that Ireland's financial blight would spread -- despite early positive indicators, European share prices, particularly banking stocks, took a dip on the news. The loan, to total somewhere in the range of 80 to 90 billion euros, addresses the short-term liquidity problem, but doesn't erase the fact that the country is essentially insolvent.

And many can't help but wonder: Now that Ireland's come to collect their handout, will Spain and Portugal be next?

For European markets, these are stormy times, to be sure. But many analysts expect the clouds to clear before the year's end. Despite this week's backslide, technical charts are trending positive in the short-term. And with companies reporting solid earnings, there's definitely some potential for upside. And Europe's benchmark index is approaching two-year-highs, comfortably above its 50- and 200-day moving average.

Investing in Europe is a risky undertaking in the current investing climate. But it also the holds possibility of great rewards, if you do your homework and carefully weigh the risks. It's probably worth it to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to European investing. But in the meantime, there may be a few stocks worth keeping your eye on.

To help you find ideas, we started with a list of European stocks and narrowed the list down by only focusing on those with the most efficient management teams, based on the return on assets, a measure of profitability relative to total assets, and return on equity, indicating how well a company turns a profit off the money its shareholders invest. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)              

Historical data and industry comps sourced from Reuters. The list has been sorted alphabetically.

Company

Industry and Country

Return on Assets-5 Year Average

Return on Equity-5 Year Average

Alcon (NYSE: ACL)

Medical Instruments & Supplies, Switzerland

24.9% vs. industry average at 8.12%

45.04% vs. industry average at 13.59%

Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX)

Shipping, Greece

16.8% vs. industry average at 4.96%

20.86% vs. industry average at 12.43%

Ensco (NYSE: ESV)

Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration, United Kingdom

16.49% vs. industry average at 6.03%

21.65% vs. industry average at 10.97%

Nokia (NYSE: NOK)

Communication Equipment, Finland

12.51% vs. industry average at 5.35%

29.9% vs. industry average at 9.18%

Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO)

Drug Manufacturer, Denmark

17.85% vs. industry average at 9.53%

26.78% vs. industry average at 15.51%

Telefonica (NYSE: TEF)

Telecom Services, Spain

7.32% vs. industry average at 4.14%

39.87% vs. industry average at 8.59%

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri (NYSE: TKC)

Wireless Communications, Turkey

16.61% vs. industry average at 9.32%

26.06% vs. industry average at 16.92%

TORM (Nasdaq: TRMD)

Shipping, Denmark

13.46% vs. industry average at 9.36%

30.01% vs. industry average at 21.23%

Tenaris (NYSE: TS)

Steel & Iron, Luxembourg

14.57% vs. industry average at 12.02%

27.01% vs. industry average at 24.18%

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


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

Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. The Fool owns shares of Ensco and Telefonica. 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.