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vendredi 1 mai 2009

Worst is over for Eastern European stocks, says East Capital founder

Peter Elam Håkansson, chairman and head of portfolio management at East Capital, thinks the worst is over for Eastern Europe's stockmarkets and that there is currently an attractive entry point for investors.

Håkansson, who runs a number of funds including the SEK 3.9 billion (€364 million) East Capital Russia fund, has witnessed the Russia RTS index rally 52.3% in the past three months, as the market started to claw back some of the colossal losses made since it fell from its peak in mid-May 2008.

He thinks there are signs that now is a good time for long term investors to finish licking their wounds and re-enter the market.

'If you analyse the market behaviour over the last 6 months I think the worst is behind us,' he says. 'Things have clamed down dramatically. The worst behind us, however that doesn't mean prices will grow very quickly from here on in, it will continue to be volatile and difficult as we will see bad figures come out of the real economy from almost all countries. The message is that you need to be careful when you enter, and it is difficult to time the exact moment to reenter, but now is a good moment to enter for the long term.'
Although the economies of Eastern Europe will continue to face problems in the near term, Håkansson still believes in the long term growth story.

'Despite the economic crisis, the long term economic growth potential of Eastern Europe continues to be huge. Our portfolio managers and analysts are travelling more than ever before. Given the current situation it is extremely valuable to get impressions and information by visiting companies. From experience we know that such situations create very interesting opportunities for dedicated investors.'

There are certain sectors which are particularly worthy of attention, he thinks.

'Retail and consumer sectors are showing positive signs of growth and we have increased our allocation to these sectors,' he says. 'The steel sector is currently looking very attractive in Russia and Ukraine, which are well placed to sell steel on a global scale as their production is very competitive.'

Since its launch in 1998, the East Capital Ryssland fund has returned 576% in dollar terms while the Russian RTS index has risen 258%.

(Philip Haddon - Citywire - 30/04/09)

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