Antoine Colonna & team BofA Merrill Lynch
second teamLuca Solca & team Sanford C. Bernstein
third teamAntoine Belge, Erwan Rambourg & team HSBC
Claiming top honors for a seventh consecutive year is the BofA crew led by Antoine Colonna, 41. Portfolio managers say they appreciate the quartets incredibly deep industry knowledge and unprecedented teamwork. The analysts told investors to buy Swatch Group in December 2008, at Sf145.35, banking on the Swiss designer-watch maker to prove more resilient than many analysts expected. Boy, were they right. The stock had soared 80.2 percent, to Sf261.90, by year-end 2009 and outperformed the sector by 28.4 percentage points.
The Sanford C. Bernstein trio guided by Luca Solca debuts in second place. The team, lauded by money managers for truly innovative research and high objectivity, upgraded LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton to buy in April 2008 and highlighted the call repeatedly since, on growing global demand for products from the French luxury goods conglomerate. By year-end 2009 the stock had led the sector by 16.4 points since the upgrade.
Unranked last year, the HSBC Bank team co-led by Antoine Belge and Erwan Rambourg finishes in third place. In January 2009 the three-member team upgraded Christian Dior to buy, at 39.13, on strong fundamentals and its exposure to LVMH (the company controls roughly 42 percent of LVMHs shares). Diors stock had risen a very fashionable 57.8 percent, to 61.76, by September, and the analysts downgraded it to neutral, on valuation. Since then the stock had trailed the sector by 1.3 points, through December.
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