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European Stocks To Rise 17% This Year?

Monday, 7 Mar 2011 | 12:15 AM ET

As Europe's heads of state head to Brussels this week for yet more talks that have the words "debt crisis" in their description, one leading investment bank believes everything will turn out OK.

Nomura, in a 5 MB report that should not be printed if you are light on paper or ink in the printer, says Europe will work despite its integration project standing at a "critical juncture."

With poor fiscal discipline and no clear fiscal authority added to large potential losses for banks from the periphery to the core, Nomura says Europe has the resources to deal with it problems, including – crucially - political will.

Peter Westaway, chief Europe economist at Nomura in London, says both the euro area's public debt and public deficit are lower than those in the US, which will continue to outperform on borrowing.

"The US moved earlier to address its banking issues. Europe moved earlier to address its fiscal issues. Each must now follow the other's example if each is to overcome its debt challenge," Westaway wrote.

Westaway believes both the Lisbon Treaty and the ECB Securities Markets Program, added to the EU and IMF packages given to Greece and Ireland, have allowed the EU to remain flexible and offer breathing space to Ireland, Greece and Portugal.

Like many, though, he is worried by Spain. "For the euro area to finally turn the corner, policy needs to create a firebreak before Spain. To do this, Europe must deal with its banks, starting in Spain," according to Westaway.

Nomura believe the cost of recapitalizing Spain's banks could be just 24 billion euros if the bigger banks could raise their own capital leaving the government to deal with the troubled savings banks.

In Spain and other periphery economies years of fiscal consolidation are on the cards, which Westaway believes will be politically unpopular but could have the scope to "progressively increase growth in the long-term."

With neither Angela Merkel nor Nicolas Sarkozy wanting to be seen as leading the dissolution of the euro area, Nomura believes not one member will leave and has some interesting calls euro zone leaders will hope come true.

Periphery spreads to come down to just 90 basis points, no loss of confidence in the euro , which could trade at 1.45 versus the dollar and a 17 percent 2011 gain for Europe's stock markets with banks leading the way.

"This crisis may not be the last, but, provided that political will remains, we believe Europe will continue to advance, step by step, towards sustainability," he wrote.

Contact Europe: Economy

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