Recent hikes in oil prices and far-too-turbulent markets may have caused unwanted stress for investors, but Steven Lehman thinks he might be able to provide a glimpse of hope to pessimists by ditching the traditional pattern of investing domestically, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Lehman manages the $1.8 billion conservative-allocation Federated Market Opportunity mutual fund, which is structured to thrive during down markets.
What is unique about Federated Market Opportunity is that they avoid investing in major U.S. stocks and instead choose to seek out the unpopular or somewhat risky areas for mutual funds: currencies and commodities.
We have really innovated in moving from a domestic focus to international investments, Lehman said, who also noted at major turning points, the crowd tends to be wrong.
Doing well in rough times is not necessarily a new idea. For example, David W. Tice & Assoc. offers a Prudent Bear mutual fund that incorporates short-selling techniques in order to try and capitalize during periods where the dollar and stock markets are on the decline, gold is on the rise, and hope seems to be lost.
Lehman defines his Pittsburgh-based fund as an absolute return fund, meaning that no matter what the conditions are in the stock market, he focuses on producing positive results. However, he also admits that Market Opportunity is not a fund that will do well in a rising market.
One of Lehmans top picks is Canadian-based Barrick Gold Corp, which explores for precious metals like gold, copper, silver, and zinc. The funds holding also includes Japanese yen, which have appreciated 20% in the past 12 months, according to Lehman.
Although Market Opportunity outperformed its peers during the bear market back in 2001-2002 according to Morningstar, the fund was only given two out of five stars. Morningstar cites concerns that there is not much merit to Market Opportunity as a long-term investment.