Best and worst

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The Independent Online
The performance of Save & Prosper's Asian smaller companies fund has been hit by the fact that the vast majority of Asian markets have fallen since the beginning of the year, writes Caroline Merrell.

Mike Ryder Richardson, Save & Prosper's marketing manager, said: "The fund is aggressively managed and is in illiquid stocks." He said that when markets fell, the brokers tended to mark down illiquid stocks even further because they are hard to trade. Headded that the fund had suffered from being underweight in Japan.

"Illiquidity would help the performance of the fund on the way back up because of the limited number of shares available," he said.

The performance of Waverley's Canadian fund was hit by the fact that the fund manager believed recovery in the Canadian market would be led by the blue-chip companies. Instead, the higher risk mining stocks performed well. Hill Samuel's Japanese fund benefited from a booming domestic demand in the communications industry.

Philippa Gould, fund manager, said: "The fund was helped by improvement in the economy and modernisation in the telecoms industry."

She said that one company in the fund that had done particularly well was Sanken Electric, which had gone through extensive restructuring.

"The company has been helped by the PC boom in the United States and the demand for more semiconductors."