Industries: Metals & Mining – First
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Industries: Metals & Mining – First

Felipe Hirai & team Bank of America Merrill Lynch


The buy side says: “Felipe is not afraid to break from the herd and make bold calls.”


It’s three straight years atop the roster for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Led by São Paulo–based Felipe Hirai, 33, the three-member team follows 13 stocks and scores points for a February downgrade of Brazil’s Cía. Siderúrgica Nacional from neutral to underperform, at 17.37 reais, on its sizable debt burden, among other concerns. The steel producer’s shares plunged 37.9 percent, to 10.78 reais, and trailed the sector by 27.4 percentage points, through mid-July. A valuation-driven downgrade of Grupo México from buy to neutral in April, at 39.87 pesos, also proved well timed. The analysts had upgraded the diversified miner from neutral to buy in December, at 36.05 pesos, on rallying copper prices, thus capturing a 10.6 percent rise. By the middle of July, the stock had slipped 3.3 percent, to N$38.55. “They saved us money,” cheers one grateful backer. Looking ahead, the team is bullish about Vale, a diversified Brazilian metals producer, especially because of its new management. — Ben Mattlin


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