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Equity Strategy

On top for a second consecutive year — and for the sixth time in eight years — is the UBS Pactual foursome led by Damian Fraser, 44. “Their research is profound and accurate,” hails one enthusiastic buy-sider.

Damian Fraser Damian Fraser & team UBS Pactual

second team Ben Laidler & team J.P. Morgan

third team Pedro Martins Jr., Fanny Oreng & team BofA–Merrill Lynch

On top for a second consecutive year — and for the sixth time in eight years — is the UBS Pactual foursome led by Damian Fraser, 44. “Their research is profound and accurate,” hails one enthusiastic buy-sider. The Mexico City–based squad produces a focus list of ten stocks they expect to outperform, and in December added the preferred shares of ­Brazil’s Net Ser­viços de Comuni­cação, citing the the cable TV and broadband-­Internet provider’s manageable debt load and strong cash generation. The stock zipped from R13.17 to R19.05 through July and outperformed Mexico’s broad market by 8 percentage points.

Unranked since 2005, the J.P. Morgan team, now guided by new team leader Ben Laidler, captures second ­place. In February the New York-based economists adjusted their model portfolio to overweight the ADRs of Mexico’s Cemex, citing the building-­materials manufacturer’s cost-­cutting initiatives.

Through July the ADRs advanced from $7.96 to $9.39. Although they drop a notch to No. 3, the BofA-­Merrill trio continues to win praise for their “deep regional knowledge,” in the words of one portfolio manager. The São Paulo–based team, co-led by Pedro Martins Jr. and newcomer Fanny Oreng, added Brazil’s Cía. de Concessões Rodoviárias to their focus list in December, based in part on the highway man­ager’s solid cash flow. Through July the stock zoomed 41.8 percent, from R21.51 to R30.50.

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