A Foreign Fund Races Ahead

Foreign Stocks & Emerging Markets

A Foreign Fund Races Ahead

Spectra International Opportunities focuses on rapidly growing companies.

Hot companies. Cool stocks. That's the motto of the Spectra funds, which seek to latch on to rapid growers before others recognize them. That approach helped propel Spectra International Opportunities to near the top of the charts in its first year.

Managers Dan Chung and Gregory Adams look at stocks from two angles. First, they ask the 30-person research team at Alger Management, which runs the Spectra funds, to come up with its top picks among dynamic foreign companies of all sizes. Ideal candidates are typically companies gaining market share and increasing unit sales.

In addition, Chung and Adams run numbers through a computer model that identifies sustainable growers. They then assemble the portfolio for International Opportunities, which has just $3 million in assets, choosing stocks from both lists.

Over the past seven years, Alger has had to rebuild itself after losing 36 employees, including chief investment officer David Alger, in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Chung, now CIO, was the only senior investment professional who survived (not counting then-retired founder Fred Alger).

Because of the recent selloff in markets around the globe, Chung says this is a good time to buy stocks. He likes Asian insurance companies and firms that play off the global demand for Internet and mobile data. "With rising living standards, people actually have something to insure," he says.