20 most popular stocks from Europe (what can we learn?)

What are the most popular stocks from Europe traded on the stock exchange? I really wanted to answer this question to figure out if there are any attractive European dividend stocks which I may have missed so far.

So in this short article you will read which are the top 20 most popular stocks from Europe based on price volume. I will also answer some follow-up questions which came to my mind as a dividend growth investor.

But before we get started, let’s first quickly explain what price volume is and why I’ve chosen this as a methodology.

What is price volume?

Let’s start with the definition of price volume:

Average Trading Volume Last 3 months * Closing Share Price

As you can see, price volume is defined by the trading volume in shares times the share price This means that I’m not looking here at the European version of the most popular stocks traded on Robin Hood (i.e. Trading212 or deGiro). Taking such a view would give a very biased view and probably skewed towards millennials.

Nothing wrong with that and the fact that many millennials are trading on the stock market is a very good thing! You simply can’t start early enough with building generational wealth 👌

In this case I would rather want to analyze it from a total stock market point of view. Therefore, if you would analyze this further then you will observe that a lot of trading is a result of trades executed by big institutions. Examples of those are ETF and Mutual Fund providers like Vanguard and BlackRock or for instance large pension funds.

One could argue that I shouldn’t take this approach, because buying an index doesn’t define popularity. I think different in this, because large institutions do analyze and rate the compositions of indexes and they do make conscious decisions in what to invest. Most of them are very particular by analyzing for instance the top 10 stocks in an index including their total weight.

Having said that and as the formula shows, it’s not just about the trading volume. We also need to multiply this with the share price.

Investors don’t necessarily make decisions to buy 10 stocks of company A, but rather 1000 Euro of company A. Hence, we need to know the absolute trading value to figure out what really the most popular European stocks are.

And that’s it. This is the methodology behind the 20 most popular European Stocks.

So let’s get straight into it!

Just FYI: I was able to pull the raw data from Yahoo Finance and based on that I was able to compile this list. Companies which I analyzed on this blog are linked to the actual blog post. Companies that are part of the Noble 30 index are highlighted in bold.

NameTotal Price Volume (in millions and Euro’s)
Royal Dutch Shell plc591,977
Roche Holding AG585,801
Nestlé S.A.576,626
Novartis AG460,804
SAP SE424,932
Allianz SE265,623
ABB Ltd249,004
Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A.228,162
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft225,184
BASF SE224,531
Unilever PLC220,218
BNP Paribas SA218,431
Airbus SE216,961
Daimler AG215,645
UBS Group AG212,620
Enel SpA200,229
Bayer Aktiengesellschaft197,966
AstraZeneca PLC194,694
Iberdrola, S.A.194,330
BP Plc193,700
top 20 most popular stocks in Europe based on price trading volume

What can we learn from this list?

Let me answer this in the following paragraphs that are based on several questions which I asked myself as a dividend growth investor.

The European Dividend Aristocrats part of this list are Roche, Nestle, Novartis, SAP and Unilever.

It is really interesting to see that Roche is listed at the second place of most traded European stocks. I definitely would’ve thought to see Unilever in the top 3 based on the conversations in the community and FinTwit.

This has probably to do with familiarity and the fact that Unilever is main stream. As an example, many people know Unilever because of using their products on a daily basis. Whereas Roche is mainly consumed by patients with for instance an oncology related disease, especially if we speak about breast cancer. God bless that we’ll never get such nasty diseases!

Besides this I’m also surprised to see Royal Dutch Shell ranked first. I thought that nobody wanted shell anymore over the last few years, but then I also noticed that Shell is the most traded stock on deGiro in the Netherlands.

I guess that last year’s price crash, dividend cut and most recently their rebound in price made it an ideal stock to trade.

This is a very interesting chart and it reflects my thoughts about the European economy.

It’s very clear to me that Asia is the manufacturer of the world and besides that they are also catching up when it comes to the High-Tech industry in the Information Technology sector. Unfortunately a lot has to do though with unfair competition (i.e. IP infringements)

Besides that it’s also very clear to me that the United States are the leader in Tech and many other sectors. I can see a strong innovation culture in the US due to their entrepreneurial spirit.

So what’s left for Europe then?

Unfortunately we can see that Europe has a lot of large cap companies which are under strict governmental regulation (Health Care, Energy and Financials) or in old industries with high entry barriers (Energy, Financials, Industrials).

Those high entry barriers mostly related to large capital requirements to enter the market, but I fear that those industries are really subject to massive technological disruption in the next two decades.

Therefore I really think that we need to get our act together and invest much more in our entrepreneurial culture. We need to embrace entrepreneurs much more and also make it more attractive for those companies to grow independently.

But to conclude, I personally think that we can be really proud on the Health Care sector in Europe. I can see that we have some real diamantes in this list which are operating in the Biotech industry (Roche, Novartis and AstraZeneca).

7 out of the 20 stocks have cut their dividends last year:

  • Royal Dutch Shell
  • Industria de Diseno Textil (i.e. Zara)
  • Siemens
  • BNP Paribas
  • Airbus
  • Daimler AG
  • BP Plc

I am not surprised to see that BNP Paribas has cut their dividend, because they were simply forbidden to do so by the European Central Bank. The only surprise on this list for me is Siemens. They have cut their dividend with approximately 11% and this is pretty much inline with the amount of equity they spun-off with Siemens Energy. Unfortunately Siemens Energy decided not to pay a dividend.

The fact that many stocks decided to cut their dividend doesn’t mean that they are not paying a dividend at all anymore.

But I was quite surprised to see that the average current dividend yield for this whole list still amounts 3.20%.

We will soon see if this is a trustworthy number, because most of these stocks are about to announce their 2020 dividends at the time of their annual results release.

The top 3 most popular stocks by dividend yield are:

  1. BP Plc (6.94%)
  2. Bayer AG (5.38%)
  3. UBS Group (5.09%)

I am not surprised to see Bayer in here, but I personally think that their dividend is subject to an upcoming dividend cut.

BP Plc already cut their dividend by 50% and I don’t expect another cut in the short term. Especially not now that the oil price seems to be recovering after Saudi Arabia’s decision to produce less oil.

UBS group is an interesting one in this list. It has a very bumpy and unreliable dividend growth history. Hence, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut their dividend again in the upcoming year.

Company NameDividend Yield
BP p.l.c.6.94%
Bayer Aktiengesellschaft5.38%
UBS Group AG5.09%
BASF SE4.91%
Allianz SE4.75%
Royal Dutch Shell plc3.96%
Enel SpA3.95%
Novartis AG3.46%
Iberdrola, S.A.3.36%
Unilever PLC3.33%
ABB Ltd3.05%
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft2.92%
AstraZeneca PLC2.85%
Roche Holding AG2.84%
Nestlé S.A.2.68%
Daimler AG1.60%
SAP SE1.52%
Industria de Diseño Textil, S.A.1.34%
BNP Paribas SA0.00%
Airbus SE0.00%
as of 15-January-2021

Last but not least, it is also interesting to see that all of these companies pay pretty decent dividends under normal circumstances. It underlines the mantra that European stocks generally pay lofty dividends, because most of the yields are higher than the current S&P 500 yield. Even after these 7 dividend cuts.

Which of these stocks are within 10% of their 52 week highs?

The below list gives us a nice indication of which stocks have done well during Covid-19 or at least managed to already recover quite significantly.

Company NameWithin distance of 52 week high
Daimler AG6.00%
Iberdrola, S.A.5.17%
Unilever PLC4.88%
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft4.56%
ABB Ltd3.53%
BASF SE2.79%
UBS Group AG2.46%
Enel SpA2.10%
as of 15-Jan-2021

Daimler up there, very interesting!

Which of these stocks are within 10% of their 52 week lows?

None of the stocks are currently close to their 52 week low’s. All of them have recovered quite well already, but let me still share with you the top 5 of stocks which are most closest to their 52 week lows.

Company NameWithin distance of 52 week low
AstraZeneca PLC29.31%
SAP SE25.05%
Unilever PLC22.51%
Nestlé S.A.21.00%
Roche Holding AG19.15%
as of 15-Jan-2021

SAP is no surprise to me, because they have secular headwinds by almost missing the boat on the Cloud transition.

Roche Holding was a surprise to me, but when I looked it up I noticed that they have been trading in a very narrow price range:

This is probably the most important question of all, because it’s the primary reason why I did this exercise.

So, based on these 20 stocks there is one stock in particular which I would like to further look into and that’s ABB Limited. I know the company pretty well from the past and surprisingly it has always been under the radar for me as a dividend growth investor.

ABB is one of those Industrial powerhouses from Europe which is producing lot’s of (smart) equipment for many physical industries. They have also excellent software to support customers in their implementation of IoT.

A company which I find definitely worth further looking into!

source: https://global.abb/group/en/investors/investor-and-shareholder-resources/dividend

Having said that, there are also few other companies on this list that caught me by surprise, but that had rather to do with the fact that they traded so much, i.e. Iberdrola and Enel. But none of those are new to me and I am both considering Iberdrola and Enel already on my todo-list for analysis.

Final reflections and conclusions

It was nice to do this exercise and I would recommend everyone to take an outside-in approach from time to time.

In this case I used the concept of looking at the most popular European stocks by price volume. Another approach might be looking at stocks which only started paying a dividend in the last 10 years to find the potential next European Dividend Aristocrats 🤔 (maybe something for a future post).

Such an outside-in approach allows us to break our own routine in finding dividend growth stocks, because a common mindset of a dividend growth investor is to scan the CCC-Dividend Aristocrat list and to take our inspiration from there.

We don’t really have a nice equivalent list for European companies and that’s why I started this blog. Hence, we have also much more white-space to find those European Dividend Growth stocks.

So to conclude this article, I’m happy with this thought exercise and even more happy that I have a new European Dividend Growth company on my todo-list for potential inclusion into my portfolio (ABB Ltd 💪).

Yours Truly

European Dividend Growth Investor

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European DGI

I am European DGI and it's my desire to retire early via Dividend Growth Investing as a passive income stream. This is not easy and especially when living in Europe. That's why I started this blog because I truly believe we can learn a lot from each other by sharing our journeys!


I’m not a certified financial planner/advisor nor a certified financial analyst nor an economist nor a CPA nor an accountant nor a lawyer. I’m not a finance professional through formal education. I’m a person who believes and takes pride in a sense of freedom, satisfaction, fulfillment and empowerment that I get from being financially competent and being conscious managing my personal money. The contents on this blog are for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial, accounting, or legal advice. I can’t promise that the information shared on my blog is appropriate for you or anyone else. By reading this blog, you agree to hold me harmless from any ramifications, financial or otherwise, that occur to you as a result of acting on information provided on this blog.

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