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Hearty gains seen for stock markets around world by end of 2011: poll

LONDON -- The world's major stock indexes look set for hearty gains between now and the end of 2011, a Reuters poll showed, overcoming volatility from high oil prices, Middle East conflicts and the earthquake in Japan.

Despite a mixed performance for global stock markets so far this year, the quarterly poll of almost 400 market analysts and economists showed all 18 indexes covered in the survey finishing 2011 in positive territory compared with current levels.

Several bourses are likely to see double-digit gains over 2011 as a whole, as analysts saw little chance that soaring energy prices and unrest in the Middle East would derail the global economic recovery.

Still, the predictions were muted in comparison with the last poll published in December, especially for emerging markets. Reuters did not poll analysts on forecasts for the prospects for the Nikkei because of the earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear crisis that befell Japan two weeks ago.

From the survey taken over the last 10 days, strategists saw indexes elsewhere recovering strongly after many dipped in response to the disaster.

“Global indices are still going to be in for a torrid time as we go into the summer and there could be further selling to come, but once we've had the big shake out indices should recover into the year end and post gains for 2011,” said London Capital Group's Angus Campbell.

“Western stock markets have on the whole suffered the most and so expectations are for them to recover better than most once the selloff is over.”

Perhaps this was best demonstrated by forecasts for Germany's DAX index, which includes heavyweights like Siemens and Volkswagen. Down 1.6 percent so far this year, analysts see it surging more than 13 percent from here to the year-end.

As always, respondents were very bullish on stocks, although several pointed to a bumpy ride ahead.

In fact, some major indexes — such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Britain's FTSE and Canada's TSX — are expected to fall from current levels by mid-2011, before surging higher in the second half.

Like last year, emerging markets are expected to post bigger gains than rich world peers over the course of 2011.

Russia's RTS, which last year saw a stellar gain of 22.5 percent, looks likely to lead the pack again this year with a 21.5 percent rise thanks largely to booming energy prices.

“The Russian economy is coming back — high oil prices will balance the budget and there is evidence of a reform agenda,” said Tom Mundy, head strategist at broker Otkritie.

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