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Friday, July 14, 2006

'Manager of the Decade' Hits Doldrums

by: Marie Glancy

Helping prove that even the most renowned managers can't beat all of the odds, all of the time, Legg Mason's famed stock picker has fallen behind the S&P and into the ranks of this year's least successful large cap blend fund captains.

Reuters reports that after 15 years of all but unblemished success, Bill Miller has hit a rough patch. His $19 billion Legg Mason Value Trust Fund is down 6.84 percent for the year, while the S&P Index is flat. This puts the fund second to last out of the 649 large cap blend offerings Morningstar tracks, but the article quotes an analyst who reminds us Miller -- named "Fund Manager of the Decade" by Morningstar in 1999, and "The Greatest Money Manager of the 1990's" by Money magazine -- told us this could happen.

It seems his downfall came largely from ill-timed backing of online retail giants like Amazon and eBay, but since these businesses typically do better in the second half of the year, observers won't be surprised if Miller sticks to his wonted buy-and-hold style.  

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