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In a note published yesterday titled Going for Growth: Themes for 2011, Goldman Sachs analysts led by Peter Oppenheimer set out three macro and two micro themes for next year

Divergence within Europe Analysts identified a very high correlation between GDP growth across countries and respective stock market performances over 2010, and said this is likely to continue into next year. One way is to go long on stocks with exposure to core eurozone countries and short on those with exposure to peripheral eurozone, a second is to go long German consumer stocks and short the STOXX Europe.

BRICs growth

BRIC economies will continue to outpace Europe for some time as they rapidly industrialise. Three ways to trade the theme are to go long on Goldman Sachs’ basket of BRIC-exposed European companies and short a basket of those with domestic eurozone exposure; go long on a second basket of developed market companies with emerging market exposure and short the MSCI World; and to go long a basket of top performing emerging market companies and short the MSCI EM index.

Operating leverage.

Oppenheimer and his team expect company earnings in cyclical sectors with particularly high operational leverage to surprise the market. Goldman Sachs recommends a long position on its basket of highly leveraged companies while shorting the STOXX Europe.

High dividend yield stocks

While accepting that pure ‘yield’ strategies have not worked in Europe, Goldman Sachs recommends refining a high-yield strategy to only include stocks with sustainable and growing dividends. The US bank recommends a long position of a basket of high dividend yield companies versus a short in those with high yields but vulnerable to a cut.

Companies with pension risk

With lower returns on assets in 2010 combined with an increase in pension deficits owing to lower bond yields, Goldman Sachs expects the focus on pension problems to increase in the coming months. It recommends a long in the STOXX Europe index versus a basket of companies vulnerable to higher pension expenses.