* For poll data see
* FTSE 100 seen at 6,100 by mid-2013, 6,400 by the end of
* US fiscal situation, euro zone could weigh for first half
By Alistair Smout
LONDON, Dec 13 Britain's blue chip share index
is set to rise 8 percent by the end of 2013, accelerating after
a slow start to next year on expectations the global growth
outlook will improve, a Reuters poll forecasts.
The FTSE 100 is seen climbing a mere 150 points by
the middle of 2013 before breaking out to 6,400 by the end of
the year, according to the poll of 50 strategists taken in the
The index closed at 5,945.85 on Wednesday.
"For investors looking to put their money somewhere,
equities still present a viable option when compared to other
asset classes, with the potential to offer capital appreciation
as well as a decent yield," Angus Campbell, head of market
analysis at Capital Spreads, said.
The FTSE has risen 6.4 percent this year, helped by gains in
banking shares but underperforming European peers as heavyweight
mining shares and international conglomerates struggled in the
first half of the year. Miners lost 30 percent peak
to trough this year, but have recovered 17 percent since June.
"Internationally exposed stocks should continue to do well
and that means the FTSE 100 ... However, severe headwinds remain
in terms of the euro zone debt crisis and so gains for stocks
might be hard to come by particularly if those major threats to
the global economy materialise," Campbell said.
Those threats include uncertainty over the so-called "fiscal
cliff" - a series of tax rises and spending cuts totalling $600
billion which could throw the U.S. economy into recession - and
pressure in the bond markets on peripheral euro zone countries.
"Although concerns remain over euro zone sovereign debt
issues, the U.S. "fiscal cliff" and the outlook for the Chinese
economy, we believe these headwinds will be outweighed by
positive factors such as strong corporate balance sheets, a
reasonable valuation and an attractive dividend yield," said
Paul Kavanagh, partner at Killik & Co.
However, other investors saw British stocks underperforming
European peers if banks continue their recent rally. Goldman
Sachs chief global equity strategist Peter Oppenheimer told
reporters at a 2013 briefing that he expected Britain's FTSE 100
to rise by slightly less than the Euro STOXX 50 in 2013.
"We see a rebound in financials, and there's a greater
concentration of financials in the Euro STOXX 50."
The poll revealed a broad range of predictions, from 5,500
to 6,560 for mid-2013 and 5,700 to 7,000 at the end of the year,
with all but two of the 50 strategists polled seeing the FTSE
hitting at least 6,000 by the year end.
This reflects a consensus that while concerns over the
"fiscal cliff" and Europe, which will see elections in Germany
and Italy in the first half of the year, may weigh at the
beginning of 2013, the UK market should do well in the latter
half of the year.
"If we can gain some economic traction, the second half of
the year could see us finish on a sounder footing, hopefully
giving us some good gains to finish the year," Dan Reed, broker
at HB Markets, said.
(Additional reporting London and Paris Markets; Additional
polling by Namrata Anchan and Ashrith Doddi; Editing by Susan