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Science, tech funds top charts

Stocks boosted by first signs of revival of moribund sales


Equity funds that invest in science and technology stocks topped the performance charts in November as moribund sales of technology showed the first signs of revival.

The average science and technology fund jumped 13.9 per cent last month. The group's average loss for the year to Nov. 30 stands at 33.7 per cent.

Among top performers, the $6.7-million ING Global Communications Fund soared 30.7 per cent, the $39.7-million iUnits S&P/TSE Canadian Information Technology index fund jumped 30.5 per cent and the $1.4-million Caldwell Technology Fund advanced 24.9 per cent. The $1.3-million Dynamic Global Technology Class Fund gained 23.6 per cent and the $25.2-million Royal Global Technology Sector Fund rose 23.2 per cent.

Bullishness about tech shares propelled the Nasdaq Stock Market to an 11.2-per-cent jump, as timid market participants turned bold and shifted from safer to more risky assets.

Duncan Stewart, portfolio manager for the StrategicNova Canadian Technology Fund, up 12 per cent for the month, says investors piled into issues that were deeply oversold. He notes that technology stocks tend to fall twice as fast as the broader market on the way down and climb twice as fast on the way up. And the most volatile -- or high-beta -- tech issues are whipsawed even more quickly.

"The day traders' specials did disproportionately well," Mr. Stewart says.

As a result, more stable, blue-chip tech stocks lagged some of the more aggressive names.

Market participants were also encouraged as technology companies started to report some good news at last. Sales for semiconductors, personal computers and wireless equipment were better than expected, Mr. Stewart says, and stocks in those groups received a boost.

But he adds that no one technology niche dominated. "Pretty much every stock had a better November."

Canadian equity funds that invest in large-capitalization stocks also posted gains in November. The average fund rose 4.1 per cent to trim the group's average one-year loss to 11.2 per cent.

The S&P/TSX composite index gained 5.1 per cent in November. Market fears of a double-dip economic recession in the United States were alleviated by some positive economic data, including strong car sales and falling jobless claims.

The $1.3-million Mavrix Canadian Strategic Equity Fund jumped 11.2 per cent, the $39.2-million Elliott & Page Generation Wave Fund advanced 9.2 per cent, and the $8.4-million Clarica Canadian Blue Chip A Fund rose 7.8 per cent.

Canadian equity funds rose an average of 3.8 per cent in November to bring the category's one-year drop to an average 8.7 per cent.

The $1.3-million Caldwell Canada soared 16.8 per cent, the $1.5-million CEO Canadian Demographic Fund jumped 15.5 per cent and the $48-million Integra Canadian Value Growth Fund increased 8.6 per cent.

Emerging markets funds also saw their fortunes rise last month. The average gain for the group was 6.5 per cent, bringing the average one-year loss to 1.7 per cent.

The $28.9-million Clarica Premier Emerging Markets Fund rose 9.3 per cent, the $38.8-million CIBC Emerging Economies gained 9 per cent and the $31.7-million Mackenzie Universal World Emerging Growth Capital Class Fund added 8.7 per cent.

In the United States, the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index advanced 5.7 per cent, while the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average rose 5.9 per cent during November.

U.S. equity funds rose an average 5.3 per cent. The one-year loss hit 18.5 per cent.

The $700,000 Mavrix Enterprise Fund gained 18.8 per cent, the $4.8-million Caldwell America Fund rose 16.5 per cent and the $4.1-million Brandes U.S. Equity Fund increased 11.6 per cent.

International equity funds also benefitted from rising markets, with an average gain of 5.1 per cent. The group's average one-year loss shrunk to 15.8 per cent.

The $9.1-million AIC World Advantage Corporate Class Fund advanced 8.6 per cent, the $819-million AGF International Stock Class rose 7.6 per cent and the $395.6-million AIC World Equity added 7.5 per cent.

Among specialty funds, those that invest in financial services stocks posted robust gains in November. Funds in the category rose an average of 6 per cent last month to bring their one-year loss to 9.4 per cent.

The $182.8-million Dynamic Focus Plus Wealth Management Fund jumped 10.6 per cent, the $56.9-million iUnits S&P/TSE Canadian Financials index fund rose 8.5 per cent and the $2.3-million First Trust Global Financial Services 2000 increased 8.5 per cent.

Canadian small-capitalization funds edged up an average of 1.8 per cent last month, bringing the group's one-year gain to 1.6 per cent. The $7.4-million Multiple Opportunities rose 8.3 per cent, the $587.6-million Royal Canadian Growth added 7.3 per cent and the $24-million CIBC Canadian Emerging Company was up 7 per cent.

The only group to lose ground in November was Canadian income trust funds. The category slid an average of 1.8 per cent. The group's average gain for one year stood at 7.7 per cent.

Top performers included the $2-million Trans-Canada Dividend (Sagit) Fund, up 3.9 per cent, the $2-million @rgentum Income Portfolio Fund, down 0.5 per cent and the $36.1-million GGOF Monthly High Income II, which slid 0.9 per cent.

Best and worst performers
Assets over $50-million, ranked by one-month returns to Nov. 30. Excludes Canadian and U.S. money-market funds.
Top 15 funds

                                                One-     One-

                                       Assets   month    year

Fund                                  ($'000)   return   return

Fidelity Focus Technology-A          $241,406   +19.1%   -29.3%

Fidelity RSP Focus Technology-A        72,617   +19.0    -29.5

CI Global Technology Sector           216,767   +18.4    -25.3

CI Global Technology RSP               88,525   +18.3    -25.0

Talvest Global Sci & Tech             120,773   +18.2    -41.5

CIBC Global Technology                111,422   +17.6    -41.9

AIM Global Technology                 149,287   +15.9    -40.2

AIM RSP Global Technology              83,638   +15.9    -40.5

TD Science & Technology               247,673   +15.2    -32.9

Altamira Science & Technology         193,184   +14.6    -39.3

TD Science & Technology RSP            62,068   +14.6    -32.5

Investors Global Sci & Tech           531,465   +14.3    -36.1

Mackenzie Univ Wld Sci & Tec Cap CI   178,274   +14.2    --

Mackenzie Univ RSP Wld Sci & Tech      73,092   +14.1    --

CI Global Telecommunications Sect     327,688   +13.4    -32.4

Bottom 15 funds

Sprott Hedge L.P                     $390,787    -9.0%   +54.9%

New Millenium Internet Venture         54,649    -4.9    -19.0

CI Landmark Global Opportunities       52,610    -4.7     +2.7

Working Ventures Canadian             266,508    -4.7    -18.8

Covington Fund I                      115,199    -4.3    -20.2

Bissett Income-A                      452,566    -4.0    +10.9

Bissett Income-F                       53,939    -3.8    +12.1

Working Opportunity Balanced          331,633    -3.7    -21.6

Working Opportunity Growth             83,983    -3.6    -27.8

Renaissance Canadian Income Trust     599,336    -3.5     +9.6

AIM Global Health Sci Class           253,660    -3.4    -26.4

AIM RSP Global Health Sciences        143,099    -3.4    -26.5

GGOF Monthly High Income Mutual     1,015,677    -3.3     +9.0

Dynamic Focus Plus Divers Inc Trust   663,294    -3.3    +19.4

GGOF Monthly High Income Classic      120,485    -3.3     +9.8


© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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