Legg Mason’s famous manager Bill Miller beat the Standard & Poor’s 500 index for 15 consecutive years until the past two years, when he hit a rough patch, but an editorial in Kiplinger’s predicts a rebound in fortune.
Last year, the Legg Mason Value fund trailed the S&P by 10 percentage points, finishing at the bottom 1% of large-company blend funds, according to Morningstar. This year, Value is 11 percentage points behind the S&P and is in the bottom 2%.
“I don't think Miller has been playing football without a helmet,” writes Kiplinger columnist Steven Goldberg. “He's one of the smartest and most intellectually curious people managing money today. In a conference call the other day, he sounded as sharp and as confident as ever.”
Goldberg said that while the Legg Mason Value and Legg Mason Opportunity have been “failing abysmally” recently, now is the time to invest in them.
Miller’s consistency and stubborn strategy have not changed. He buys growth stocks and classic value fare with the prediction that as one goes down, the other will go up and still keep the overall portfolio ahead.
Miller compares today’s environment to the last time he trailed the S&P from 1989-90 during the savings and loan crisis.
“We had a great year in 1991,” Miller said. “I think you'll see the same thing happen today. We could have a market next year that’s almost the inverse of what we had this year.”