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Citigroup raises Japan stocks to ‘neutral,’ cuts UK to ‘underweight’ By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Staff enter the Citigroup building in London’s financial district of Canary Wharf November 18, 2008. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs/File Photo

(Reuters) – Citigroup (NYSE:) on Friday upgraded its recommendation on Japanese stocks to “neutral” as the country’s economy and earnings look resilient, but downgraded British equities to “underweight” due to high exposure to fluctuations in oil prices.

The Wall Street brokerage also cut its rating for the global energy sector to “underweight” due to bearish outlook on the oil sector.

It said that if hopes of a “soft landing” in the United States prevail, cyclical stocks should outperform, with cyclical markets such as Japan also benefiting.

While Citi maintained a 1% contraction forecast for global earnings growth this year, the brokerage said it expects earnings to grow at 9% in 2024.

“Global economic risks generally look more balanced, though downside risks remain,” equity strategists at Citigroup said in a note.

“Our forecasts imply an EPS (earnings per share) ‘slowdown’ this year, rather than a full-blown recession. A shallow earnings contraction is more conducive to cyclical outperformance,” they added.

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