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Thursday, September 19, 2002

Fido Looks Overseas

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Fidelity Investments is seeing opportunities overseas. The Boston Behemoth plans to add no less than six new international analysts before the end of the year, reports the Wall Street Journal. The firm is also planning to add several more international funds to its current roster of 31.

One potential distribution channel for the new funds is Fidelity's extensive portfolio of 401(k) clients. The firm notes that just 3 percent of 401(k) plan assets are now invested in international stocks. Look for Fidelity to try to push that number higher.

If Fidelity actively educates plan sponsors and participants about the benefits of international investing, it may create an opportunity for other international fund managers to ride on its coattails.

The fund giant is also encouraging retail fund investors to put more assets into international stocks. The recommendation to investors was made in a 15-page report entitled "The Case for International Investing."

The Boston Behemoth started distributing the report to investors this week. The report suggests that foreign stocks are less expensive than U.S. stocks when valued by their earnings. It adds that foreign companies are also now growing their earnings more quickly than U.S. companies.

European stocks are growing profits at an 11 percent rate compared to 8.4 percent annual per share growth in the U.S. In addition, European stocks carry a P/E ration of 19 compared to 28 for the S&P 500.  

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