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Julian Gibbs

With the world economy stagnating, the outlook for shares in not particularly attractive. However, there are at least 50 excellent stockpicking fund managers who are likely to continue to outperform their respective markets.

The markets I like best are Japan and the Far East. My favourite Japanese funds are Fidelity Japan special situations, Gartmore Japan opportunities and Schroder Japan alpha plus. Out of the smaller companies funds, I prefer M&G Japan smaller companies and Baillie Gifford Japan smaller companies.

In the Far East excluding Japan sector, I like Aberdeen Far Eastern emerging economies and New Star Pacific growth.

I am not very keen on US shares at present and in Europe I prefer smaller companies trusts, especially Threadneedle European smaller companies growth. In the UK, I recommend the Gartmore Fledgling Trust managed by Gervais Williams and Andrew Russell. This is the best performing investment trust in its sector over 10 years, having risen by 422 per cent.

For conservative investors, there are some excellent growth structured products. The Nvesta tracker plus plan gives a guaranteed return of 10 per cent over six years plus 100 per cent participation in any rise in the FTSE 100 index.

Conservative investors requiring income should go for the Keydata income VCT, especially as the Labour Government is determined to encourage wind farms in which this VCT invests. It is aiming for a 5 per cent annual tax-free income over the longer term, equivalent to 8.3 per cent because of 40 per cent tax relief. This equates to around 13.9 per cent gross for a higher-rate income tax payer and 10.7 per cent for a basic-rate tax payer.

Property investors should do well over the longer term. Here, I like the New Star property trust.

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