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samedi 16 avril 2011

Allianz prédit une décennie en or pour les small caps

Small and mid cap companies outperformed the broad equity market by some distance over the past decade, a study from Allianz Global Investors has revealed, leading the firm to conclude that a golden decade for the asset class lies ahead.
While global equities grew by more than 40% from January 2001 to March 2011, global small and mid caps more than doubled in the same period as measured by the MSCI World Small Cap (Total Return) index. According to the study, this was especially the case during economic upturns.
Illustrating this point, Frank Hansen, chief investment officer for European small and mid caps and manager of the Allianz RCM Europe Small Cap Equity fund at Allianz Global's RCM unit said: 'Small and mid caps strongly benefit from cyclical upturns which is often translated into higher earnings.' Such companies are often in the middle of a growth path and run very focused businesses, he says. 'Often world market leaders in their niche, these companies have substantial pricing power which translates into a strong earnings momentum.'
Hansen, who is A-rated by Citywire, added: 'Given the current macro economic outlook I would expect the golden decade for small caps to continue with the current cycle'.

The study entitled 'Is small beautiful?' revealed Spanish small caps as the biggest outperformers, beating the country's large cap companies by 119.9% from 2001 to 2011. Commenting on this Hansen said: 'The Spanish economy suffers from structural problems, the high public debt burden and the necessary deleveraging. Thus investing in Spanish stocks requires very careful stock selection.'
Despite this Hansen believes there are a few interesting small cap stocks with attractive international exposure such as Sol Melia, a hotel chain with a strong footprint in vacation resorts in Latin America.
In comparison German small caps outperformed large caps by a lesser degree - 64.7% - over the same period. On this Hansen said: 'Germany's economy continues to show a very strong improvement, driven by exports and investments. Economic growth rates are strong and have been revised upwards recently. Unemployment rates are heading lower and corporate profits keep on rising. There are lots of market leading companies, especially offering high quality products, that also meet the growing demand of the emerging markets. Therefore German export-oriented small caps like Gea, Fuchs Petrolub or Hugo Boss continue to look attractive.'
Small cap stock picks in France Hansen reveals as engineering consultancy firms like Assystem, luxury goods companies such as Laurent Perrier and specialty pharma companies like Virbac.
While on Italy he said: 'Italy has structural problems, but in terms of the debt crisis it's the relatively safest of eurozone’s peripheral countries. Though domestic economic activity continues to underperform, Italy has attractive niche companies that operate successfully on the world market; examples can be found in the consumer sector, for example leather fashion company Tod's or Internet fashion retailer Yoox.'

(Amy Williams - Citywire - 15/04/11)

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