Returning to third place after a year at runner-up is the Morgan Stanley group of strategists under the stewardship of Graham Secker. The team leader is “quick and reactive to the news flow” and publishes “strong research pieces informed by a global network and view,” one fund manager remarks. For his part, Secker, 41, points out that his squad maintains a “reasonably constructive” outlook, given the strategists’ expectation that 2015 nominal gross domestic product growth in Europe will move above weighted government bond yields for the first time since 2007 — a development that typically leads to higher equity prices. “In addition, sentiment towards Europe is very depressed,” notes the London-headquartered crew chief. “We have a strong buy signal on our own market-timing indicators, and valuation is all right. We think European earnings can grow faster than U.S. earnings in 2015.” Morgan Stanley’s researchers favor cyclicals over defensives, since regional macro data are improving. “As people realize that the European economy isn’t quite as bad as they feared — and the European Central Bank is also stepping up its policy response — then we can have a better outcome for equities,” Secker contends. Finally, banks are to be preferred, he advises, owing to their exposure to the effects of the ECB’s quantitative-easing program of bond buying.