Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Financial-Services Funds Soar, Stand to Beat Market

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Financial-Services Funds Soar, Stand to Beat Market

Article excerpt

Neil Eigen gets a charge out of the latest gains from his financial stocks.

The co-manager of two value funds for mutual-fund firm J.&W. Seligman in New York has seen the stock values of Allstate Insurance, Summit Bank, and Fannie Mae increase by as much as 50 percent over the past few months.

With gains like that, Mr. Eigen says he can relax a little. He also anticipates more gains for his value funds, now that the once high-flying technology sector - a favorite of rival growth funds - has hit the skids.

Thanks to a moderating economy and the Federal Reserve's recent decisions to raise and then leave interest rates alone, the US financial sector soared to the top of the mutual-fund heap during the third quarter. With interest rates now on hold, most financial institutions can worry a little less about their cost structure, says Dan Bandi, who heads up value investing for the Cleveland- based Armada funds.

While past performance doesn't guarantee future results in the financial sector, some analysts expect more big gains ahead. New York Investment house Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette sees most bank sectors at least equaling "market performance," with some selected bank stocks outperforming the market.

DLJ also forecasts that a handful of financial services should outperform the market in the months ahead. …

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