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Leaders of New Bull Market May Be Emerging

Editor's note: Richard Widows will be on Stockpickr Answers today, March 19, to answer questions posed by members of the Stockpickr community. Not a member? Join the Stockpickr community today -- free.

It's hard enough to know when a bull market will emerge. It's even more difficult to determine which industries will lead the charge.

The two tables below show whether the funds and groups that led the 2002 to 2007 bull market might pull off a repeat performance.

The table of investment objectives illustrates that a worldwide view proved a winning strategy. Emerging market funds were a slam dunk, as they accounted for 26% of the top 200 performers. Non-U.S. funds made up 34%, and global equity funds -- those with foreign and domestic holdings -- accounted for 3%.

Add the 12% that came from energy and natural resources, and the 10% from precious metals -- both groups have high international exposure -- and close to 85% of the top 200 performers had at least some foreign flavor.

Another table shows the recent performance of mutual funds that rose the most during the bull market. All have been hammered over the past year. But each of the globally focused funds has outperformed the S&P 500 index over the past three months.

A clue to hidden strength can be seen in the summary of major indexes at the bottom of the table. Gauges representing the pure equity categories were led by the MSCI emerging markets index, off 4.8% during the past three months, significantly better than the 17% decline suffered by the S&P 500.

But while only two of the globally focused bull-market leaders have declined by double-digit percentages over the most recent three months, seven of the U.S. leaders are down 10% or more.

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