Gilbert upbeat on stock markets

Martin Gilbert, the chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, is optimistic that stock markets will carry on rising.

"If equity flows are anything to go by it's still looking pretty good," he said. "But these things can change overnight."

Mr Gilbert said the bulk of money coming into the fund manager was from Europeans buying into global equities, with Canadian and US investors close behind.

UK investors still favour emerging markets but Aberdeen has reached its optimum size in this area and is not keen to take in extra money. Mr Gilbert says that it becomes difficult to produce outperformance when a single fund becomes too large.

First-half headline profits rose 14 per cent to £162m, comfortably ahead of City forecasts. Funds under management rose by 9 per cent to £185bn. The interim dividend goes up by 16 per cent to 4.4p a share.

Mr Gilbert said: "We encourage our fund managers to spend 90 per cent of their time looking at companies rather than spending 90 per cent of their time worrying about the economy or politicals. Companies are doing really bloody well – growing profits and raising their dividends well above inflation."

Recently Mr Gilbert offered Aberdeen's services to the £2.9bn Alliance investment trust which is headed by Katherine Garrett-Cox.

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