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Julian Gibbs

According to the Skandia Indicator, where 25 leading fund management groups give their views on world stockmarkets, the Pacific excluding Japan is the clear leader, with 15 groups being positive and the rest neutral. Most fund managers also like Europe, Japan and emerging markets but views are mixed about the UK, technology and US smaller companies while the majority are pessimistic about the main US market.

Despite higher oil prices, I also believe that the Pacific markets will perform best. Recent earnings have generally exceeded expectations and most growth forecasts are being upgraded.

China’s boom can perhaps last for two or three years until some structural issues, such as a weak banking system, risk becoming a hindrance but demand there for goods including commodities, where prices have risen handsomely, will buoy up the whole region. Domestic demand is also expected to have recovered shortly, which should lead to more growth.

The fund I like best is the Aberdeen Far East emerging economies unit trust managed by the excellent Hugh Young, who has proved over more than 20 years that he knows how to select top-performing shares.

His fund has been in the top 10 in its sector over all periods from one to 10 years. For those who want some exposure to Japan, where most managers are optimistic, Young’s Asia Pacific fund is also a winner.

The Far East fund invests in nearly all the Far Eastern stockmarkets with the biggest amounts being in Korea, Singapore, India, Hong Kong and China. Other funds I like are Lincoln Far East, Martin Currie Asia Pacific and New Star Pacific growth, which is mainly invested in Far Eastern investment trusts.


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