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14th winning year for fund star Miller

Legg Mason value fund manager Bill Miller has beaten the S&P500 index for an unprecedented 14th consecutive year despite lagging the market by 5.6 per cent as late as the end of October.

The $1bn Dublin-domiciled value fund, a mirror of Miller’s US-based $11.8bn value trust, posted growth of 4 per cent in sterling terms over 2004 against a 3.4 per cent return from the S&P500.

Miller’s record looked in jeopardy, with the fund 6.96 per cent behind its benchmark in August. In October, the fund was still trailing the index by almost 6 per cent.

Forsyth Partners’ research shows that Miller’s heavy weighting in tech and internet-based consumer discretionary stocks, such as ebay, which staged a late rally, enabled the fund to edge it. One holding, Expedia parent IAC, gained over 6 per cent in the last week of the year.

Miton Investments fund of funds manager Sam Liddle says: “There was a worry he was going to miss it. It is a fine achievement and he was well positioned for the market rally after the election.”

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