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BMO Experts Look Back at 2012, Announce Predictions for 2013

TORONTO, ONTARIO and NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- (Marketwire) -- 12/31/12 --

Editors Note: There are three images associated with this press release.

Top economic and market strategists from BMO Financial Group released their economic and market analysis of 2012 and made their predictions for 2013 and beyond.

Brian Belski, Chief Investment Strategist, BMO Capital Markets:

--  North American stocks are set to deliver another positive performance in
    2013 with the U.S. setting the tone. 
--  BMO Capital Markets models indicate the S&P 500 will attain a price
    target of 1,575 for 2013, up 9.38 per cent from its current level, with
    earnings of $106; the S&P/TSX will reach 12,900, up 4.11 per cent from
    its current level, with earnings of $900. 
--  Sector preferences are based on balance sheet strength, consistent
    growth, and improved operating metrics versus the overall markets, given
    our earnings forecast and uncertainty related to the global macro
    backdrop. Sectors in U.S. to watch include Industrials, Energy and
    Information Technology; sectors in Canada to watch include Financials
    and Industrials. 
--  Given the still extremely low global interest rate environment,
    investors should be looking for stocks with strong dividend
    characteristics - both dividend yield and consistent dividend growth.

Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets:

--  The U.S. economy grew faster than Canada's in 2012 for the first time
    since 2004. We look for the gap to widen in 2013, as the U.S. housing
    sector continues to recover - growing at its fastest pace in 30 years
    next year - while Canada's housing market continues to lose altitude. 
--  China's growth rate should pick up slightly in 2013, thanks to firmer
    U.S. demand as well as domestic stimulus measures. More broadly, we look
    for many emerging markets to regain some strength next year, as the
    aggressive interest rate cuts by many economies begin to pay dividends
    next year. 
--  It looks like the Bank of Canada will preside over a third consecutive
    year of no change in interest rates. We also doubt that his successor at
    the Bank of Canada will move on rates either, as the next rate hike in
    Canada will likely not come until 2014. Similarly, we expect yet another
    year of no change in U.S. interest rates, as the Fed will continue to
    run an ultra-loose policy stance until the jobless rate drops below 6.5
    per cent (versus 7.7 now).  
--  Firmer commodities should keep the Canadian dollar above parity with the
    greenback on average in 2013, after it averaged almost precisely par in

Paul Taylor, Chief Investment Officer, Fundamental Equities, BMO Asset Management Inc.:

--  Throughout 2012 Europe faced various challenges; however the European
    Union's commitments to keeping the Euro intact helped them muddle
    through. This pronounced commitment will continue to help Euroland in
    its uphill recovery in the next few years. 
--  At a similar rate during the 2012 fiscal year, the U.S. economy will
    continue its path of moderate growth in 2013. 
--  Closing out 2012, the U.S. government should come to an agreement on how
    to address the fiscal cliff. 
--  A big surprise in 2012 was investors flocking to bonds as a safe
    investment choice during a volatile market environment. 
--  The equity market will deliver better returns in 2013 driven by
    continued economic growth and investor confidence.

To view the images associated with this press release, please visit the following links:

Brian Belski: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-BrianBelskiLG.jpg

Douglas Porter: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-DougPorterLG.jpg

Paul Taylor: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20121220-PaulTaylorLG.jpg

Media Contacts:
Rachael McKay
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Peter Scott
(416) 867-3996
[email protected]

Martha McInnis
(212) 702-1992
[email protected]

Valerie Doucet
[email protected]

Internet: www.bmo.com
Twitter: @BMOmedia

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