Perpetual bull Brian Belski said Monday he would not be surprised if European stocks outperformed U.S. equities this year, but the outcome may arrive on the back of a faulty investment strategy.
Investors are piling into European markets as the European Central Bank continues to buy up billions of dollars of bonds each month in a bid to spur economic growth. But the chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets said European companies are not as fundamentally strong as U.S. companies were when the Federal Reserve first embarked on quantitative easing years ago.
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"Investors seem to be following this template. Well, we're going to buy Europe because we expect the same type of returns that we saw in '09 2010, 2011 in America," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "We think that's a little bit too foolish."
American companies are much more diversified than European firms, and their portfolio of trade partners looks different, Belski said. Europe's No. 1 trade partner is Asia, he noted, adding that Asia continues to experience volatility.
"Yes, we've had a nice near-term run with respect to European stocks, but this whole notion of a contagion with respect to the European banks and what's going to happen with the Greek debt has just caused a little too much volatility, we think, especially given the kind of multiple expansion that we've seen in Europe year to date," he said.
The German DAX is up more than 15 percent this year, while the has returned just less than 2.5 percent over the period.
International investing has been the vogue trade during the last 15 years, and investors are experiencing some success in overseas markets again this year, Belski said.
"The're starting to nibble on European stocks, probably at the wrong time," he said. "At the end of the day we continue to tell our investors longer term that the stability trade remains America. So if you want to play volatility and you have a really active sell strategy, "
Europe is a good option for investors with a very active sell strategy who want to play volatility and momentum, he added.