Best and worst: Japanese Unit Trusts

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The Independent Online
JAPAN is flavour of the month at the moment, with many of the large investment houses gearing up to launch Japanese investment or unit trusts.

The bullish outlook on Japan follows five years of abysmal performance. On average, pounds 100 invested in Japan five years ago is now worth only pounds 125.

The top performing funds over five years tend to be invested in smaller companies, while the bottom performers are the index-tracking funds.

Richard Farquhar, product performance manager at HSBC Investment Services, which runs James Capel's funds, said: 'Obviously the last five years have been pretty difficult. The vast majority of fund managers have outperformed the index.'

He said that a large part of the index was weighted towards the bank and financial sector. This sector had been lagging behind others in the recovery cycle. 'In the five years before 1989, none of the managers actively managing the funds beat the index. What happens over the next five years will be an interesting proposition.'

He believes that many other fund managers are underweight in banks and financials, which will start to perform well as the country moves out of recession.

Denis Clough, Schroder's assistant director, said: 'Smaller companies outperformed as a group in 1989 and 1990. They have also outperformed more recently.' He added that that the fund's manager, Ed Merner, had huge experience in selecting smaller companies.

----------------------------------------------------------------- JAPANESE UNIT TRUSTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best pounds 1 Schroder Japanese Smaller Co's . . . . 251.78 2 Dunedin Japan Smaller Co's . . . . . . 228.42 3 Perpetual Japanese Growth . . . . . . .223.97 4 NM Tokyo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 192.02 5 Stewart Ivory Japan . . . . . . . . . .166.80 The worst 60 James Capel Japan Index . . . . . . . .86.95 61 M&G Japan & General . . . . . . . . . .86.87 62 Invesco Japan Performance . . . . . . .83.21 63 Morgan Grenfell Japan Tracker . . . . .82.91 64 Barclays Unicorn Japan & General . . . 71.70 ----------------------------------------------------------------- The table shows the value as of 1 May 1994 of pounds 100 invested five years ago, with all income reinvested. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Micropal -----------------------------------------------------------------

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