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Hot Currie

It nearly always pays to invest in a stockmarket which has performed badly for a couple of years, despite the likelihood of corporate profits continuing to increase. The North American market is a case in point.

Many big blue-chip companies, including those relying on exports, are near their lowest levels for many years. A lot of these companies are well managed and have good growth prospects as well as excellent competitive positions.

The US government is coping with the recession much better than the UK. The Americans were the first to be hit by the current crisis but will probably be the first ones out. The government has been strongly proactive in supporting the economy, particularly by making big interest rate cuts.

The weak dollar has also been a great help to exporters. Now that it is beginning to strengthen slightly, UK investors in US shares will gain if this trend continues.

The US funds I like most include Martin Currie North American, Neptune US opportunities, M&G American and Jupiter North American. Martin Currie, in particular, has an outstanding record, having ranked in the top decile over one, two, three and five years to April 1.

Fund managers Tom Walker and David Forsyth have performed well in difficult markets. They have a fairly concentrated portfolio of only around 40 shares.

Some of the shares they like particularly in current circumstances include Apple, Cisco, IBM and Hewlett Packard.

The case for investment in US blue-chip shares is now a very strong one. Several respected advisers believe it is a once in a blue moon opportunity to make real money.

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