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Judging the turn

The Resolution Argonaut European alpha fund managed by Barry Norris has an outstanding record. Norris started his career with Baillie Gifford and spent some time with Neptune where he ran the European opportunities fund. He then decided to start Argonaut Capital Partners in 2005 with Oliver Russ.

The Argonaut European Alpha fund was ranked second in its peer group of 94 European focus funds for the three years to May 12, 2008.

It has since dropped back due to the fall in commodity prices including energy and basic materials and the rise of the laggard sectors such as media and technology.

Norris believes that while the global economic outlook is incredibly uncertain, equities are largely priced for bad news.

He points out that the market will usually turn when the yield on equities is equal to or higher than the yield on bonds. It looks as though this situation may well happen shortly.

It is very difficult to forecast the bottom of the market but I believe that it is worth investing now rather than missing out when the market recovers again, especially using experienced fund managers with good past records.

There are many good stockpicking opportunities in Europe to be found. This fund is heavily invested in telecommunication stocks where sustainable dividend yields of 6 to 7 per cent are very common.

Norris is currently investing more in Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company. Although he believes that the coming weeks are likely to be exceptionally volatile, he also thinks they are likely to throw up once- in-a decade investment opportunities.

I recommend exposure to this fund for all growth investors, especially for those investing for the longer term.


Darling ready to pump more capital into banks

The Government is expected to announce a huge package of support for the banking industry following pressure to inject additional capital into banks in exchange for equity stakesChancellor Alistair Darling met the chief executives of Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays and Lloyds TSB earlier this week to discuss fund-raising measures after industry concern that Government support was not going far enough.

InfoComp appoints business consultant

InfoComp has appointed Eric Welsby as a business consultant. Welsby joins from Adnitor. InfoComp says Welsby’s experience of the UK wrap market will help the firm prog- ress its expansion plans in the sector.

And the band played on

The clarification by the Conservatives of their proposal to increase the nil-rate band for inheritance tax to £1m was well reported when made only a few weeks ago. Since then, we have had some more serious issues to consider in the shape of the extreme financial turbulence experienced over the past few weeks and it would be something of an understatement to say that most of us have been too preoccupied by events on both sides of the Atlantic to give too much thought to IHT.


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