The United States is headed for a V-shaped rebound from its present economic slump and investors with a 12-month horizon are advised to get back into stock markets, according to Citigroup investment strategist Clarke Winter. Top sector picks at present valuations, identified by a Citigroup investment team during a visit to Hong Kong, were telecommunications and information technology companies, as well as financial services. On Friday, chairman and chief executive for global investment management and the private banking group, Thomas Jones, singled out China as an area of strategic interest for the group. 'It is not the time for index investing or broad-brush 'throw-the-dart' investing,' Mr Winter warned, adding that a period of high volatility and uncertainty still lay ahead, along with more corporate failures. That, in turn, meant hedging and arbitrage strategies would also pay dividends as securities moved within broad and fairly predictable bands. Mr Winter said the uncertainty made it difficult to predict the timing of the rebound as a result of monetary and fiscal stimulation, but this could come as early as the first quarter of 2002, or be delayed into the third quarter. Rama Krishna, head of global equity research for Citigroup Asset Management, said healthcare was a promising investment sector. 'We live in an ageing world and the proportion of plus-65-year-olds is set to double. A 65-year-old gets 20 prescriptions a year,' Mr Krishna said. The same demographic arguments could be made for investments in financial services at present valuations, particularly in China, he said. 'You will be seeing a greater need for savings as the world grows older and a greater demand for financial services in China,' Mr Krishna said. China had a clear focus on enhancing development of its citizens in a systematic fashion. 'From what we can tell across the board they are doing absolutely the right thing,' Mr Krishna said. 'I would love to get access to the China stock market because one day we expect it all to be unified and when that happens you are going to see the biggest stock market in Asia, second only to Japan,' he said. Privatisation programmes that had delivered high growth to Britain in the late 1980s and early 90s would do the same for China, Mr Krishna predicted. Mr Jones said Citigroup was interested in investing in all its business units in China. 'We are looking for opportunities in private banking, global consumer business, corporate business and investment banking,' he said. 'We are very encouraged by China's entry into the World Trade Organisation and playing by the same set of rules will present tremendous opportunities for investors,' Mr Jones said.