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Carmel Fisher says there will be a happy ending to these markets

By Jenny Ruth

Wednesday 4th August 2010

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 Jenny Ruth

The current "bad environment" for equities markets is likely to continue for at least the balance of this year, says Fisher Funds Management managing director Carmel Fisher.

Economic data isn't convincing enough anywhere around the world to signal anything better, Fisher told investors in Napier at the first of this year's series of investor presentations around the country.

In such an environment, Fisher is aiming to lock in gains in her company's Australian, international and infrastructure funds to ensure they aren't eroded by currency movements.

And her investment team will spend even more time talking to the companies they invest in than usual.

Ensuring each portfolio is well diversified is paramount. "In this market, diversification is the only game plan," Fisher says.

But while she is delivering "a slightly sombre message, there will be a happy ending."

The investment environment is unusual but it isn't so unusual that investors should ignore the lessons of the past, she says.

While share markets around the world are currently depressed, equities are still the best performing investments over time.

Once company earnings start to improve, "it's reasonable to expect share prices will lift as well."

Fisher's funds all out-performed their benchmarks in the year ended June 30. For example, the New Zealand Growth Fund gained 12% compared with the NZ50 Gross Index's 6% rise.

Fisher's Kiwisaver fund gained 17% in the year compared with the 10% average growth of all growth or aggressive Kiwisaver funds.

Within each fund, there were a number of poor performers but those stocks which performed well gained more than the poor performers lost, Fisher says.

Gains, including a 52% gain in Mainfreight and a 28% rise in Ryman Healthcare, from Fisher's top six performers more than offset losses from the six worst performers, such as Rakon's 35% decline and Delegat's 28% drop.

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