Closely watched strategist Mark Grant is again swimming against the tide, warning against investing in European stocks at a time when many Wall Street money managers are advising the opposite.
“Too much risk in Europe,” the contrarian investor said Wednesday, citing such concerns as a snap election call in Britain, Sunday’s presidential voting in France, and dire financial situations in Italy and Greece.
“I want nothing to do with investing there at present,” the Hilltop Securities chief strategist told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”
While acknowledging technical and fundamental analyses make European stocks look interesting, “it’s the event-driven horizon — that’s the scary part,” Grant argued.
Grant singled out the French presidential election as a real worry: “You have a nightmare scenario occurring in France.”
He said he’s concerned about the policies of two of the leading candidates, far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
“Melenchon wants to be able to borrow all the money he wants. … Le Pen wants to leave the European Union altogether,” he said. “Either of those two as the president of France would be a disaster for the European Union.”
In addition to Melenchon and Le Pen, conservative Francois Fillon and centrist Emmanuel Macron were all in the margin of error in the latest polls. If no candidate wins a majority on Sunday, the top two finishers face a runoff on May 7.
Grant also called the Italian banking system “effectively a bust,” and said the debt-to-GDP ratio in Greece is over 300 percent.