Because the credit markets and asset values are at the very heart of the economic crisis, these areas will have to strengthen before the economy improves, according to Fidelity Investments, Bloomberg reports. As such, financial services will have to be the first area to improve, and it will lead the way out of the recession.

“We have to see both [credit and asset value improvement] to see sustained economic recovery,” said Tal Eloya, a Fidelity portfolio manager. “That’s why I expect financial stocks to recover first, because these two are ingredients for financial stocks.”

And even before fundamentals of the economy show improvement, investors will gradually return to the stock markets because they will seek yields that they cannot obtain in bonds and to beat inflation.

Fidelity’s top financial services holdings include Mizrahi Tefahot Bank, Berkshire Hathaway, Pitney Bowes, Franklin Resources, Western Union, Neopost and BB Biotech.

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