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Press release from Marketwire

BMO Experts Look Back at 2012, Announce Predictions for 2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

BMO Experts Look Back at 2012, Announce Predictions for 201307:00 EST Monday, December 31, 2012TORONTO, ONTARIO and NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Dec. 31, 2012) -Editors Note: There are three images associated with this press release. Top economic and market strategists from BMO Financial Group released their economic and market analysis of 2012 and made their predictions for 2013 and beyond. Brian Belski, Chief Investment Strategist, BMO Capital Markets:North American stocks are set to deliver another positive performance in 2013 with the U.S. setting the tone. BMO Capital Markets models indicate the S&P 500 will attain a price target of 1,575 for 2013, up 9.38 per cent from its current level, with earnings of $106; the S&P/TSX will reach 12,900, up 4.11 per cent from its current level, with earnings of $900. Sector preferences are based on balance sheet strength, consistent growth, and improved operating metrics versus the overall markets, given our earnings forecast and uncertainty related to the global macro backdrop. Sectors in U.S. to watch include Industrials, Energy and Information Technology; sectors in Canada to watch include Financials and Industrials. Given the still extremely low global interest rate environment, investors should be looking for stocks with strong dividend characteristics - both dividend yield and consistent dividend growth.Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets:The U.S. economy grew faster than Canada's in 2012 for the first time since 2004. We look for the gap to widen in 2013, as the U.S. housing sector continues to recover - growing at its fastest pace in 30 years next year - while Canada's housing market continues to lose altitude. China's growth rate should pick up slightly in 2013, thanks to firmer U.S. demand as well as domestic stimulus measures. More broadly, we look for many emerging markets to regain some strength next year, as the aggressive interest rate cuts by many economies begin to pay dividends next year. It looks like the Bank of Canada will preside over a third consecutive year of no change in interest rates. We also doubt that his successor at the Bank of Canada will move on rates either, as the next rate hike in Canada will likely not come until 2014. Similarly, we expect yet another year of no change in U.S. interest rates, as the Fed will continue to run an ultra-loose policy stance until the jobless rate drops below 6.5 per cent (versus 7.7 now). Firmer commodities should keep the Canadian dollar above parity with the greenback on average in 2013, after it averaged almost precisely par in 2012. Paul Taylor, Chief Investment Officer, Fundamental Equities, BMO Asset Management Inc.:Throughout 2012 Europe faced various challenges; however the European Union's commitments to keeping the Euro intact helped them muddle through. This pronounced commitment will continue to help Euroland in its uphill recovery in the next few years. At a similar rate during the 2012 fiscal year, the U.S. economy will continue its path of moderate growth in 2013. Closing out 2012, the U.S. government should come to an agreement on how to address the fiscal cliff. A big surprise in 2012 was investors flocking to bonds as a safe investment choice during a volatile market environment. The equity market will deliver better returns in 2013 driven by continued economic growth and investor confidence.To view the images associated with this press release, please visit the following links:Brian Belski: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-BrianBelskiLG.jpgDouglas Porter: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-DougPorterLG.jpgPaul Taylor: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-PaulTaylorLG.jpgFOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Contact Information: Media Contacts:Rachael McKay(416) 867-3996Rachael.McKay@bmo.comPeter Scott(416) 867-3996PeterE.Scott@bmo.comMartha McInnis(212) 702-1992martha.mcinnis@bmo.comValerie Doucet514-877-8224valerie.doucet@bmo.comInternet: www.bmo.comTwitter: @BMOmedia