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Legg Mason value trust beats S&P index for the 15th year

The Legg Mason value trust managed by Bill Miller has beaten the S&P 500 for an unprecedented 15th consec-utive year.

The fund delivered a 5.32 per cent return last year compared with the index’s 4.91 per cent. Over five years to December 31, the portfolio is up by 4.5 per cent compared with the S&P’s rise of 0.54 per cent. Miller holds 38 stocks, taking a medium-term to long-term view, and runs the fund with a significant value stock bias.

In 2004, it looked like Miller might miss out on continuing his winning streak but he made up the shortfall in the last two months of the year. In the last 18 months, the fund has avoided a thematic play on oil, profiting from internet stocks such as Google, Amazon and eBay.

Miller, who is based with his team of analysts at Legg Mason’s headquarters in Baltimore, has worked on the fund since 1982 and took over as lead manager from Ernest Kiehne in 1990.

Hargreaves Lansdown investment manager Ben Yearsley says: “Fifteen years of consis- tent performance is very impressive. It is difficult to beat the S&P 500 and Miller runs one of the pre-eminent funds in the North American sector.”

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