Andrew Wood & team Sanford C. Bernstein
second teamEva Quiroga & team UBS
third teamHarold Thompson Deutsche
Sanford C. Bernsteins three-strong team led by Andrew Wood, 45, leaps from third to finish in first place for the first time in this sector. Says one portfolio manager: The depth of Bernsteins research generally surpasses that of other firms, and they supply it in a more comprehensible format. I dont always agree with the conclusions, but the arguments are extensive and well presented so that I can form my own opinions.
In February Woods team highlighted its contrarian outperform rating on Henkel, at 19.65, on improving operational efficiencies stemming from the German beauty products manufacturers April 2008 acquisition of adhesive maker National Starch. The stock had risen to 36.43 by late December, an attractive 85.4 percent gain that trumped the sector by 45.1 percentage points.
Wood, who also leads the No. 1 team in Food Producers, is a 1985 graduate of the London School of Economics. He worked as managing director of Nabisco Internationals Iberia business unit and as Pepsi-Cola Internationals director of business development in emerging markets before joining Sanford C. Bernstein in 2002. He is the rare sell-sider who has conviction, observes one admirer.
UBS, now a duo guided by Eva Quiroga, slips to second place. The analysts upgraded French cosmetics manufacturer LOréal Group to neutral in August, at 64.69, on improving sales. The stock ended the year at 78, a 20.6 percent gain that was just slightly behind the sectors 22.8 percent advance. Quiroga knows her companies inside and out, backward and forward, cheers one buy-sider.
Harold Thompson drops one notch to third. The Deutsche analyst, who works solo, impresses clients with his close relationships with company managements and long-term focus on the sector. Thompsons stance on the sector changed in 2009, with the researcher turning from bearish to bullish as a decline in consumer spending appeared to be bottoming out.
Among his winning picks: An upgrade on British condom manufacturer SSL International to buy in March, at 468.50p, on the strength of its acquisition of Dutch medical supplies wholesaler Beleggingsmaatschappij Lemore. The stock had increased 67.6 percent, to 785p, by the end of the year.
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