The Dutch market is ex-pected to produce reasonable if not spectacular re-sults this year, according to Cornelius Willemsen of the Houtlaan-based Internatio Mueller pension fund.

Looking at the market pros-pects for the next 12 months, he says: We are moderately optimistic in that we are looking for a five to 10% increase in the index."

The market driver, he says is a shortage of other investment prospects with limited activity on the bond markets across Europe, but especially in the case of the Netherlands where supply is low and inflation is under control. "The government is putting the fi-nances in order and is not go-ing to come to the market es-pecially for new bond issues. In addition, inflation is low and I think it will continue to be low for some time."

He continues: "I think we will be on the same track as Germany in terms of the yield curve. I think the Netherlands is looking at Germany and would not like things to deviate too much."

Identifying risks to the stock market, as with many analysts, Willemsen believes that bad news is most likely to come from Asia: "I don't think that the problems are over in the Far East. It still might be the party that upsets things here in Europe."

In terms of sectors, he favours a conservative ap-proach. "I think it is best to stay close to home and be quite conservative, so that is mainly financials and within financials the insurance companies rather than the banks."

Some analysts have also ex-pressed concern about the differences in growth be-tween fast expanding econ-omies such as the Netherlands and Spain and Germany which still has very high un-employment and lower inflation. But Willemsen remains unperturbed. "There is a possibility of a re-alignment in EMU while inflation will be watched by the Dutch cental bank," he says. John Lappin"