Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

How to buy European shares in the UK

Investors are spoilt for choice when it comes to opportunities in the European stock market. Follow our five-step plan to get started and discover some of the most popular European shares available, including their costs.

5 steps to buying European shares

  1. Choose how you want to buy European stocks – investing or trading
  2. Open a shares account
  3. Understand the charges to buy European shares
  4. Choose the European shares you want to buy
  5. Buy European stocks

Choose how you want to buy European stocks – investing or trading

Most of the time, you can buy European shares directly, unlike many other foreign stocks which need to be dual-listed in the UK or US.

There are two ways you can get exposure to European stocks – you can either invest in them directly or you can trade them using derivatives. Here’s a quick overview of each option:

Investing in European shares

Investing in European shares involves buying the shares outright by putting up the full value of the position.

Why would I invest?

  • You want to enjoy dividends
  • You plan to invest over the long term
  • You want to own shares outright
  • You want voting rights in the companies you invest in

Trading European shares

Trading European shares involves derivative products like spread bets and contracts for difference (CFDs).

Why would I trade?

  • You can open a position with just a small initial deposit called margin
  • You can make a profit whether the stock’s value goes up or down
  • You don’t pay tax on spread bets1
  • CFDs can be used to offset profits against losses as a tax deduction1

Open a shares account

When you sign up with IG, you can choose between opening a share dealing account (for investing) or a trading account (for spread bets and CFDs) – or both. It only takes a few minutes to open an account with our simple sign-up form on our website or via our app.

Create an account today

Understand the charges to buy European shares

If you’re looking to invest in European stocks, then you’ll pay a minimum commission of €10 to open a position. We’ll automatically convert your pounds into euros for just a 0.5% fee. There may be other charges, like custody fees, to consider.

How much does it cost to buy European shares from the UK?

Commission per trade Minimum charge online Minimum charge phone
Ireland 0.1% €10 €50
Germany 0.1% €10 €50
Netherlands 0.1% €10 €50
Belgium 0.1% €10 €50
Austria 0.1% €10 €50

See our full share dealing charges

You’ll incur our standard costs when you trade derivatives on European shares. There are no commission charges on spread bets but you’ll pay commission on CFDs.

Learn more about our full spread bet and CFD charges

Choose the European shares you want to buy

Europe is home to many well-known international companies, including these blue-chip stocks:

Create an account today

Buy European stocks

Buying Austrian shares: what you need to know

  • You can buy Austrian shares listed on the Wiener Börse AG (WBAG), also known as the Vienna Stock Exchange
  • Examples of major Austrian shares include Verbund, Erste Group Bank and OMV
  • You can trade Austrian shares with spread bets and CFDs, or you can buy them directly with a share dealing account

Buying Belgian shares: what you need to know

  • With IG, you can buy Belgian shares listed on the Euronext Brussels stock exchange
  • You might consider buying shares in Ageas, Ackermans & van Haaren and Proximus
  • You can buy Belgian shares directly or you can trade them with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Danish shares: what you need to know

  • We offer Danish shares listed on the Nasdaq Copenhagen stock exchange
  • Some of Denmark’s blue-chip stocks include the brewer Carlsberg, transportation company Maersk and jeweller Pandora
  • You can’t invest directly in any Danish companies but you can trade them with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Dutch shares: what you need to know

  • You can buy Dutch shares on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange
  • Popular Dutch companies include the likes of Unilever, Heineken, Just Eat Takeaway.com and the IMCD Group
  • You can buy Dutch shares with derivatives like spread bets and CFDs, and you can invest directly in them via a share dealing account

Buying Finnish shares: what you need to know

  • We provide access to Finnish shares listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange
  • Finnish stocks you might consider include telecommunications giant Nokia, renewable energy supplier Neste and elevator company Kone
  • Take a position on Finnish stocks with a spread betting or CFD account

Buying French shares: what you need to know

  • If you’re interested in French companies, we offer trading on stocks listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange
  • There are a number of popular French shares to choose from, including automobile manufacturer Renault, oil and gas giant Total, food company Danone, cosmetics company L'Oréal and public relations agency Publicis Groupe
  • French shares are only available to buy with spread bets and CFDs

Buying German shares: what you need to know

  • You can buy German shares listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Xetra)
  • There are a number of notable German stocks you can buy, including Adidas, Allianz, Deutsche Bank, SAP and Volkswagen
  • You can add German shares to your portfolio with a share dealing account, or you can trade them with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Greek shares: what you need to know

  • If you’re interested in exploring the Greek stock market, we offer trading on shares listed on the Athens Stock Exchange
  • Well-known Greek shares you can buy include the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization, the retailer Jumbo, Aegean Airlines and Alpha Bank
  • Share dealing is not available on Greek shares but you can still trade them using spread bets and CFDs

Buying Irish shares: what you need to know

  • We offer Irish shares listed on the Euronext Dublin stock exchange
  • There are some great Irish stocks you can look at, including Ryanair, Kerry Group and the Bank of Ireland
  • You can invest directly in Irish stocks with an IG share dealing account, or you can speculate on their prices with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Italian shares: what you need to know

  • You can trade Italian shares listed on the Milan Stock Exchange
  • If you’re interested in the Italian stock market, companies like Ferrari, Prysmian and Parmalat could be considered
  • We don’t offer share dealing on Italian shares but you can still trade them with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Norwegian shares: what you need to know

  • Trade Norwegian shares listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange
  • Norway is home to many large public companies. You could look at energy giant Equinor, telecommunications company Telenor and financial services firm DNB
  • You can trade Norwegian shares with a spread betting or CFD account

Buying Portuguese shares: what you need to know

  • You can trade shares listed on the Euronext Lisbon stock exchange
  • We offer shares on a number of major Portuguese companies, including renewable energy provider EDP Renovaveis, natural gas distributor Galp Energia, catering company Ibersol and multi-industry holding company Sonae Capital
  • You can buy Portuguese shares with spread bets and CFDs. However, you won’t be able to invest in them directly

Buying Spanish shares: what you need to know

  • If you’re interested in the Spanish stock market, we offer shares listed on the Madrid Stock Exchange
  • Some of Spain’s biggest companies are power provider Iberdrola, fashion retailer Inditex, financial services company Santander and telecommunications operator Telefonica
  • Share dealing on Spanish stocks is not available on our platform, but you can still make a profit by correctly predicting their price movements with spread bets and CFDs

Buying Swedish shares: what you need to know

  • We offer trading on Swedish shares listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm exchange
  • Swedbank, AstraZeneca, Ericsson and Volvo are just some of the blue-chip shares you could consider trading
  • You can take long and short positions on Swedish companies using derivatives like spread bets and CFDs

Buying Swiss shares: what you need to know

  • If any Swiss companies have caught your attention, you can trade shares in those that are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange
  • Well-known Swiss companies include food conglomerate Nestlé, drug makers Novartis and Roche, insurer Zurich and luxury goods company Richemont
  • You can speculate on the share price of Swiss stocks with spread bets and CFDs, but you won’t be able to invest in them directly

Buying European shares summed up

Footnotes

1Tax laws are subject to change and depend on individual circumstances. Tax law may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.

Publication date : 2020-11-25T13:04:03+0000


This information has been prepared by IG, a trading name of IG Markets Limited. In addition to the disclaimer below, the material on this page does not contain a record of our trading prices, or an offer of, or solicitation for, a transaction in any financial instrument. IG accepts no responsibility for any use that may be made of these comments and for any consequences that result. No representation or warranty is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this information. Consequently any person acting on it does so entirely at their own risk. Any research provided does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and needs of any specific person who may receive it. It has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and as such is considered to be a marketing communication. Although we are not specifically constrained from dealing ahead of our recommendations we do not seek to take advantage of them before they are provided to our clients. See full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.

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