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Guess the top managers' favorite markets

If you think Brazil is poised to leap ahead of the rest of the BRIC next year, you may be in good company, but when it comes to markets like China, the cheers are a lot less enthusiastic.

According to the latest UBS survey of top fund managers, 48% say Brazil will deliver the best performance in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East or Africa next year -- but 33% are going with the emerging consensus and saying they think Russia will win the prize.

As to what the key to buying Russia will be next year, 49% say corporate governance improvement is the answer. But 24% would be happy to see higher oil prices as their trigger to get more bullish on Moscow.

On the other side of the trade, when asked what the biggest source of potential downside for Brazil will be in 2011, 37% of these money managers say rising state participation in the market, while 27% simply think that the Bovespa is too expensive whenever it gets north of a P/E of about 15.

And as to the best off-the-beaten-track market next year, 32% of the managers like Argentina and 24% like Saudi Arabia. Argentina has plenty of ways to trade, but as for Saudi Arabia, you might have a hard time of it.

Beyond the stock markets, the UBS poll discovered that managers are mixed on currencies, with 37% expecting the real to perform best next year while 28% favor the ruble. And in commodities, 36% say oil will do best, followed by 29% for gold and 18% for copper

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.