Jaime Vazquez & team J.P. Morgan
second team Andrew Kasoulis & team Credit Suisse
third team Christopher Hogbin & team Sanford C. Bernstein
Jaime Vazquez, whose “industry knowledge and contacts are second to none,” according to one portfolio manager, leads the three-member J.P. Morgan team to a second consecutive first-place finish. Vazquez, 40, and his associates were cautious on the sector for much of 2009, owing to deflationary pressures on food prices, but they did issue yearlong buy recommendations on two midcapitalization food retailers with strong growth prospects, BI˙M Birles¸ik Mag˘azacılık of Turkey and Portugal’s Jeronimo Martins & Filho. The stocks skyrocketed 115.5 and 83.5 percent, respectively, in 2009, while the sector rose only 17.3 percent. Climbing one rung to second place is the Credit Suisse trio led by Andrew Kasoulis, hailed by one backer as an analyst who “sees the big picture without losing sight of the details.” The team pegged Metro a buy last February, at €23.23, on the belief that its newly launched Shape 2012 restructuring program would cut costs and improve profitability at Germany’s largest retailer. The stock bolted 83.3 percent, to €42.57, through December and outpaced the sector by 64.7 percentage points. Christopher Hogbin shepherds Sanford C. Bernstein’s three-member team to a third-place debut. The analysts, who produce research “that leaves no stone unturned or angle overlooked,” as one investor attests, reiterated their outperform rating on Tesco in January 2009, at 344.80p, citing the U.K. supermarket operator’s strong long-term growth prospects. By the end of the year, the stock had jumped 24.1 percent, to 428p, and led the sector by 3.7 points.
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