Heightened U.S. Recession Fears Mean Investors Must be Nimble to Generate Acceptable Returns in 2008



    BMO and Harris Private Bank CIOs host media conference call to discuss
    North American equity markets and economies and the implications for
    investors

    TORONTO, Jan. 24 /CNW/ -

    WHAT:

    Join Canadian and U.S. Chief Investment Officers from BMO Harris Private
Banking and Harris Private Bank to hear their thoughts on the difference
between slowing growth and an all out recession and the implications for
Canadian and U.S. equity markets.
    According to Paul Taylor and Jack Ablin, as the likelihood of a U.S.
recession increases, so does the probability of further downside in the
Canadian and U.S. equity markets, particularly in the first half of 2008.
However, the CIOs say any downside should be limited due to the current
moderate valuations on both sides of the border.
    During the call they will discuss:

    Will this slowdown be contained to the U.S. market?

    According to the CIOs, export oriented companies should outperform in the
U.S., while domestically focused companies should outperform elsewhere.
Continued growth is still expected in China and India despite potential slower
growth in the U.S.
    Historically, U.S. recessions have had a greater impact on Canadian
equities than their U.S. counterparts. This was even the case when Canada's
economy was able to avoid falling into recession itself, when the U.S. economy
fell into recession in 2001. "When the U.S. economy has sneezed, Canadian
equities have caught cold," said Taylor.

    Currency outlook

    The currency outlook is difficult to pinpoint with accuracy, particularly
with so many factors at play. Two potential scenarios include:

    
    -   U.S. dollar could rally against developed market currencies,
        including the Canadian dollar, near-term.
    -   Canadian dollar could also continue to strengthen against the
        greenback for a variety of reasons. Strong fundamentals, including
        Canadian trade and fiscal surpluses, could contribute to this
        strength.
    

    Impact of the housing slump

    The fallout from the housing slump is beginning to be felt in the
manufacturing sector. Consumers are also retreating slightly, amidst housing
concerns.

    Money making opportunities

    Even in a more challenging environment, money making opportunities exist.
Examples include fertilizer stocks, gold and consumer staples.
    According to the CIOs, broadly diversified Canadian equity strategies
that hold larger companies with strong balance sheets and more predictable
earnings and higher dividend yields continue to be favoured in the current
market environment.
    For more commentary and analysis on the Canadian and U.S. markets and
what this means for investors, media are invited to call in for an interactive
briefing at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 24, 2008.

    Media conference call details :
    -------------------------------

    Who:
    Host: Graham Parsons, Executive Vice President, Global Private Banking,
    BMO Harris Private Banking

    Paul Taylor, Chief Investment Officer, BMO Harris Private Banking,
    Toronto

    Jack Ablin, Chief Investment Officer, Harris Private Bank, Chicago

    When:
    Thursday, January 24, 2008
    11:30 a.m. EST

    Media call in number:
    416-695-7806 / 888-789-9572

    Participant passcode:
    3249657 followed by the number sign.

    The call will be archived at www.bmoharrisprivatebanking.com for seven
days and a print transcript of the conference call will be available upon
request.

    BMO Harris Private Banking and Harris Private Bank are part of BMO
Financial Group's Private Client Group. The Private Client Group provides
integrated wealth management services in Canada and the United States and had
total assets under administration and term investments of $275 billion as at
October 31, 2007. BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO) provides individual,
corporate and investment banking services across North America.





For further information:

For further information: Media Relations contacts: JoAnne Hayes,
Toronto, joanne.hayes@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-8224; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,
laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596; Laura Hunter, Chicago,
laura.hunter@harrisbank.com, (312) 461-6970; Internet:
www.bmoharrisprivatebanking.com; www.theharris.com


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