2015 All-Latin America Research Team: Argentina, No. 1: Marcos Buscaglia, Frank McGann & team
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2015 All-Latin America Research Team: Argentina, No. 1: Marcos Buscaglia, Frank McGann & team


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Marcos Buscaglia, Frank McGann & teamBank of America Merrill LynchFirst-Place Appearances: 4

Total Appearances: 17

Team Debut: 1993Marcos Buscaglia and Frank McGann guide their Bank of America Merrill Lynch squad up one position to first place, delivering the firm’s first top finish on this roster since 2000 while knocking three-time winner Itaú BBA down to No. 2. “I especially like their work in the energy space,” one fund manager reports. “They know all the Argentinean names and understand the complexities of the region. They’re also very good at identifying investment opportunities and accurately gauging the present value of stocks.” For essentially identical reasons the researchers are touting both Petrobras Argentina and Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales, a pair of Buenos Aires–based hydrocarbon exploration and production names. Each is rated buy largely on the view that it should benefit from the much-anticipated reduction in Argentina’s political risk when a new president takes office on December 10. Stock prices, however, could prove volatile during the next six months, being “highly influenced by news flow in the run-up to the October 25 presidential election,” says Buscaglia, who works out of New York. Eight provincial contests will also take place on that date, and a runoff presidential round, if necessary, is scheduled for November 22. Still, he adds, “we currently see more upside than downside for the shares. Project execution and successful exploitation of conventional tight gas and shale assets are critical for stock performance.” Petrobras Argentina, the local subsidiary of Brazilian energy giant Petróleo Brasileiro, would likely get a boost if management were to spin off the company’s electricity generation and petrochemicals units, he notes. The team’s price objective for Petrobras Argentina’s American depositary receipts is $9, which implies a 24.5 percent upside to their value in mid-July. Although the analysts forecast that YPF will deliver lackluster earnings and stock performance through year’s end, as a result of rising inflation and its inability to raise prices, by mid-2016 they expect that such macro factors as favorable global oil prices and more friendly domestic economic policies will catalyze results. Their 12-month target for its ADRs, which closed at $25.69 in mid-July, is $39. This year Buscaglia also co-leads, with David Beker, a crew that captures first place in Economics; with Felipe Hirai, he co-captains a runner-up team on the Chile lineup. The 45-year-old researcher holds a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in economics, from the Pontifícia Universidad Católica Argentina in Buenos Aires and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. He taught the subject at Argentina’s Universidad de San Andrés and at Penn before moving to the sell side, joining BofA Merrill in September 2010 from Citi, where he served as acting Latin America chief economist. Buenos Aires–based McGann, 59, signed on with Merrill Lynch in 1992 from Aetna Equity Investors in Connecticut and moved to Latin America two years later to cover Argentina and the region’s petroleum industry. The group he oversees in the Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals sector merits a runner-up position on that roster this year. McGann earned a master’s of management degree in finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Illinois.

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