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Swedish banks to lead next year’s stock rally

Swedish stock prices are expected to swell 13 percent next year as company earnings increase.

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Swedish stock rally is far from over although the OMX Stockholm 30 index has rose almost 60 percent during the last year. A majority of Swedish fund managers believe in rising stock share prices next year, according to a survey by the Nordic regions largest online stockbroker Nordnet.

Only three of the polled 33 fund managers have a negative outlook about next year’s stock prices as markets are expected to gain from rising company earnings and stronger Swedish and global economy. In average the fund managers forecast a 13 percent increase.

The news came the same day as American investment bank JP Morgan said that European stocks may gain a further 20 percent by the end of 2010.

“We find investors to be skeptical regarding the durability of the unfolding economic recovery, but our view is that it will have legs, with an improvement in labour markets confirming its sustainability,” JPMorgan Chase & Co equity strategist Mislav Matejka wrote in a report. “In addition, the stabilization in the credit markets, signs of house prices troughing, steep yield curve and the rebound in corporate profitability are the positives.”

In Sweden the financial sector is expectant to lead the rally, Nordnet said in its Market Outlook.

“Swedish fund managers signal the finance sector as the hottest next year, especially banks”, Johan Tidestad, head of Nordnet in Sweden, said. “Finance companies will gain from an upward trend at the stock market as activity in many areas important for earnings will increase – there will be more stock deals, fund savings will increase in value and the climate for mergers and acquisitions will improve”.

Since the turn of the year SEB is up 93 percent, Swedbank 113 percent, Nordea 73 percetn and Handelsbanken 60 percent.

Also the industrial companies and health-care firms, such as AstraZeneca and Meda, are expected to gain next year, the poll showed.

Last Friday stocks gained rapidly after statistics showed that US employers unexpectedly cut the fewest jobs in November since the recession began while hours worked, wages and staffing at temporary employment agencies all rose. Martin Guri, equity strategist at Nordea, called the figures a"game changer" as it will have positive affects in the short, medium and long run.

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