The best and the worst: North American Unit Trusts

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INVESTORS in North American unit trusts, after spectacular gains last year, have come down to earth with a bump as the dollar's slide has cut the value of their holdings.

The average fund lost more than 16 per cent of its value in the last six months.

Unit trust managers can try to protect investors against sliding currencies by hedging, but as Mike Foreman of Allied Dunbar Asset Management says, 'there are not many people who do very well at it.'

Investors with Waverley Canadian Balanced Growth have lost nearly half their money over three years. The commodity-based Canadian economy has been hit as hard, if not harder than the US by recession.

William McLucas of Waverley Unit Trust Management says: 'The Canadian dollar has not done any worse than the US dollar but the market has gone down.'

Smaller US companies have seen sentiment turn against them in the past six months. Susan O'Brien of Framlington American Smaller Companies says that 'when your mandate is to run a smaller company fund you cannot suddenly switch to big companies'.

----------------------------------------------------------------- Table: NORTH AMERICAN UNIT TRUSTS ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best pounds 1 Allied Dunbar American Income 94.03 2 Murray American Income 93.57 3 GAM North American 92.65 4 S&W American 92.41 5 Cazenove American 91.98 The worst 120 Hill Samuel US Smaller Cos 75.52 121 Framlington American Smaller Cos 69.68 122 INVESCO US Smaller Cos 69.23 123 Merlin/Jupiter American Capital 67.83 124 Waverley Canadian Balanced Gro 66.75 Value of pounds 100 invested from 3 February 1992 to 24 August 1992, offer-to-bid, net income reinvested. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Micropal -----------------------------------------------------------------