Friday, March 23, 2001

Stock Focus: U.K. Opportunities

NEW YORK - The United Kingdom's economy has its own share of problems, but in a world with numerous troubled economies, the U.K. is a relative bright spot. In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund gave a positive view of the U.K. economic outlook, citing robust future growth and benign prospects for inflation.

U.K. government forecasters expect Britain's real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product will grow 2.6% this year versus a 2.4% increase expected for the U.S. by Forbes/Bridge Economists.

British stocks haven't been immune to the worldwide decline in equity prices. The bellwether FT-100 index is down 15% so far this year, in line with the decline in the Morgan Stanley Capital International World index.

"I don't think the British will have quite the downturn that we'll have here, because they didn't have the excesses," says William V. Fries, lead manager of the Thornburg Value Fund (TVAFX) .

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