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Manager experiences best day ever

Corporate activity in the New Zealand and Australian share markets are providing bumper returns for share funds.

Friday, March 31st 2006, 6:00AM

by Jenny Ruth

ING New Zealand’s equities manager Amanda Smith had her best ever day on Monday, sparked by corporate activity in three of the stocks she holds in Australasian share funds.

Carmel Fisher at Fisher Funds Management has also chalked up her best ever month, thanks to one of those takeovers.

Australia’s Transpacific Industries is planning to take over Waste Management, Australia’s Unitab and Tattersalls are proposing to merge and the Australian Stock Exchange and the Sydney Futures Exchange are planning to merge.

"To get three takeovers crystallising on the same day is quite unusual," Smith says. Her portfolios have holdings in Waste Management totalling 6.77% and stakes in Unitab and the Sydney Futures Exchange.

Waste Management shares jumped from $6.99 last Friday to $8.58 by mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Unitab share climbed from A$13.93 to A$15.16 and the Sydney Futures Exchange rose from A$14.12 to A$16.56.

While she doesn’t want to quantify how much her portfolios gained on Monday, Smith says that the ING Equities Selection Fund had gained more than 20% after fees and tax between April 1 last year and March 28 this year.

Fisher’s New Zealand Growth Fund is up 16.6% before tax for March so far, with her 6.16% stake in Waste Management a big factor.

"That’s what you get with stock pickers," Fisher says. Some months can be great but others can be negative.

"Fortunately, we’ve never had a negative month of that magnitude."

Rickey Ward at Tyndall Investment Management, which also has a Waste Management holding, says if the New Zealand market holds up over the next couple of days it will have enjoyed its best month since the early 1990s.

Simon Botherway at Brook Asset Management says the New Zealand Top 50 Capital Index was up 8.28% for the month and notes it’s also been a good month for dividends as well.

His portfolios have stakes in two of Monday’s takeover situations.

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