The 2015 All-Europe Research Team: Aerospace & Defense, No. 1: Céline Fornaro & team
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The 2015 All-Europe Research Team: Aerospace & Defense, No. 1: Céline Fornaro & team

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Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s duo under the guidance of Céline Fornaro reclaims the top spot on this lineup, rising from the No. 2 position it occupied the past two years.

< The 2015 All-Europe Research Team

2015-03-tom-johnson-all-europe-research-team-celine-fornaro.jpg

Céline Fornaro & team

Bank of America

Merrill Lynch

First-Place Appearances: 2


Total Appearances: 12


Team Debut: 1992


Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s duo under the guidance of Céline Fornaro reclaims the top spot on this lineup, rising from the No. 2 position it occupied the past two years. From their base in London, the 38-year-old Fornaro and her colleague track 14 European aerospace and defense companies, winning client praise for their “close attention to detail and great depth of knowledge,” as one fund manager puts it. Investors also laud the analysts’ stock-picking abilities. The pair has been touting British engineering and technology major Cobham since upgrading the stock from neutral to buy in January 2014. The company, which manufactures aircraft and weapons equipment, is well positioned to benefit from its exposure to the U.S. Pentagon’s renewed emphasis on Pacific operations. Sure enough, by the end of last month, Cobham had jumped 15.1 percent, to 326.70p, and outperformed its regional peers by 19.7 percentage points. Looking ahead, the researchers recommend buying BAE Systems, a U.K. military aircraft and submarine maker. This stance represents a shift for BofA Merrill, which until September had long assigned the shares an underperform rating. But last autumn, BAE’s diverse exposure to defense budgets and steady dividend yield, among other considerations, prompted Fornaro and her teammate to turn positive. By the end of last month, the stock had jumped 16.1 percent, to 507.50p, while the sector climbed just 5.4 percent. “Their insights across the sector have been invaluable,” affirms another admirer.



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