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Goldman says Brazil to win World Cup

Wednesday, May 28 15:49:53

Buy Brazilian stocks because the country is going to win the World Cup, giving a boost to the local equity market.

That's according to Goldman Sachs Group, whose analysts said the host nation's chances of winning the most- watched sports event this year are more than three times higher than the next most likely team, neighbouring Argentina.

Brazil will beat Argentina 3-1 in the final after they see off Germany and Spain in the semifinals, Goldman analysts including Jan Hatzius and Sven Jari Stehn said in a report. The host nation has a 48.5 percent probability of winning the FIFA tournament, followed by Argentina on 14.1 percent and Germany on 11.4 percent.

The win will boost the country's stock markets in the weeks after the final, based on history, Peter Oppenheimer and other Goldman strategists wrote in the note. But investors may need to move fast as the gains won't last, they said.

The victor country's equity markets outperform global stocks by 3.5 percent on average in the first month after winning, "although the outperformance fades significantly after three months," according to the analysts. The winning nation sees its stock market underperform global markets by around 4 percent on average over the year following the final.

"The message seems to be: enjoy the gains while they last," Oppenheimer said.

Brazil's benchmark Ibovespa index has fallen almost 7 percent in the past year, which compares with a 15 percent gain by the S&P 500 and a 12 percent advance by Europe's Stoxx 600.

With the World Cup due to start on June 12 with the first match between Brazil and Croatia, Goldman isn't the only financial institution with a view on the tournament. Unicredit SpA also tips Brazil to beat Argentina in the final, with Germany and Uruguay as the losing semifinalists.

Goldman's predictions were based on a mathematical model that analyzed 14,000 competitive international matches since 1960. Unicredit projected a team's success taking into account variables such as home advantage, the number of years being a FIFA member and the points received at the last World Cup.

Comparing its model with the sporting odds on teams, Unicredit says there's little money to be made on favorites Brazil and Argentina. It recommends going "aggressively long" on Uruguay and Ghana as both are "significantly underpriced."

Goldman also published the results of a client survey showing a dream team selection for the World Cup. Argentina's Lionel Messi, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil's Neymar would play as forwards, Goldman said. Messi beat Ronaldo as the most popular player by a narrow margin in the survey.