Countries & Regions – Taiwan – First

Peter Kurz & team Citi

The buy side says: “Peter provides timely updates on topics that matter.”

The Citi squad under Taipei-based Peter Kurz, 54, leaps two levels to reclaim the No. 1 spot it held from 2007 through 2010. With ten analysts in Taiwan and three more in Hong Kong, the team tracks 77 stocks and, as one proponent explains, “provides detailed supply-chain data, recognizes short-term catalysts and identifies long-term trends early.” In May 2011 the analysts removed HTC Corp. from their short-term best-ideas portfolio, deeming the Taoyuan City–based smartphone maker’s shares overvalued at 1,077.25 Taiwan dollars in light of the disproportionate volume of inflows coming from only a small number of international institutions — an imbalance that makes the stock especially vulnerable to volatility, they argued. Sure enough, HTC’s shares toppled 44.6 percent, to NT$597, and trailed Taiwan’s broad market by 33.3 percentage points, through March. Kurz, who moved from BNP Paribas to Citi in 2006, received a master’s degree in international affairs from New York’s Columbia University. “Peter is ‘Mr. Taiwan,’ and I deeply value his perspective,” professes another portfolio manager. Looking ahead, the analysts recommend cash-rich high-tech companies. One example: Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. By the end of the first quarter, shares of the Taipei-based electronics manufacturer had notched a year-to-date gain of 38.1 percent. — Ben Mattlin