Oliver Q
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Safer and cheaper than Europe—why it’s time to jump into Swiss stocks

Don’t call it home-country bias. As the big investment banks start to look ahead to 2018, UBS has already picked one of its favorites: Switzerland.

The Swiss banking giant cites relatively cheap valuations, the secureness of the market and a big potential for returns amid improving economic conditions for quarterly results in picking its home country.

“On a yield basis, Switzerland looks the most interesting. It’s the second-cheapest country in Europe right now, its dividend yield relative to Europe is near a 30-year high and its dividend yield relative to the world is near a 30-year high,” said Karen Olney, equity strategist at UBS in London.

“Profits are going up and I think the market has been left behind, and, in general, underperformed recently. So, it looks interesting,” she said.

Indeed, Swiss markets lag behind the broader European market, with the iShares MSCI Switzerland ETF EWL, +0.03%  down 0.1% over the last three months, compared with a 3% gain for the iShares MSCI Eurozone ETF EZU, -0.37%  for the same period. Olney thinks that the Swiss region is more likely to outperform its European counterparts given that relative underperformance.

On UBS’s “country scorecard” Switzerland ranks first among prospective places to invest, zooming ahead of the U.K., Germany and Italy in second, third and fourth place, respectively.