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Nordea Tells Clients to Buy U.S. Shares, Sell Japanese Stocks

Nordea Bank AB, the biggest Nordic lender, is telling clients to buy U.S. shares and cut Japanese equity holdings as American stocks may continue to outperform other regions in 2012.

Nordea advised its 35,000 Danish private banking customers to remove a 5 percent weighting of Japanese stocks in their equity portfolios and instead increase their U.S. holdings to 40 percent from 35 percent, Henrik Drusebjerg, a Copenhagen-based senior strategist at the bank, said today by phone.

“In the past year U.S. companies performed much better than global peers,” said Drusebjerg, who helps oversee $230 billion at the Stockholm-based bank. “They’ve reported more positive earnings surprises and have been better at sticking to earnings forecasts.”

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for U.S. equities lost 0.04 point to 1,257.60 in 2011, the smallest annual change since 1947. The index was the second-best performing benchmark in 24 developed markets after rallying 11 percent in the fourth quarter as U.S. economic data improved with unemployment declining to the lowest level since March 2009.

Japanese shares lost 17 percent in 2011 as the country was hit by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake, which caused a tsunami and killed at least 15,844 people and triggered the worst nuclear accident in almost 25 years.

Nordea told clients to maintain a 25 percent stake in Danish stocks, a 20 percent weighting in emerging market shares and 15 percent in European equity.

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