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Apr 19, 2010
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Fund dumps Liz Claiborne

By
Reuters
Published
Apr 19, 2010

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Fund manager ValueInvest sold its entire holding of shares in Liz Claiborne LC.L (LIZ.N) a month ago, mainly due to the lack of future earnings visibility in the U.S. fashion company's last quarterly report.

Liz Claiborne
www.LizClaiborne.com

"We sold Liz Claiborne over several trading days starting in mid-March ... the total position sold was valued at around 30 million Danish crowns," ValueInvest executive Jesper Schmidt told Reuters.

LC shares traded in a $6.67-$7.64 range between March 15 and 31, according to Reuters data.

Liz Claiborne reported on February 23 a fourth-quarter net loss, in line with market expectations.

"Future earnings are shrouded in uncertainty," ValueInvest said. Furthermore, "not much of LC management's forecasts had materialised," it said in a monthly performance report on the over $300 million fund, which owned LC stock until a month ago.

"The company has lost some credibility in recent years," ValueInvest said, adding it doubted LC's forecast that the Mexx brand chain store unit would reach break-even in Europe in 2011.

With a rise of as much as 35 percent until it was sold in March, LC was ValueInvest's top performer in the first quarter, helped by U.S. retail sales beating market consensus in January and February.

In the first quarter, the fund achieved a return of 7.2 percent, trailing the MSCI World index .MIWD00000PUS, its benchmark, which gained 9.5 percent.

"The sale of Liz Claiborne did not directly lead to any purchases of new companies but was used to increase positions in existing holdings," Schmidt said.

At end-March, the fund's top holdings included food group Nestle (NESN.VX), advertiser Publicis (PUBP.PA) and retailer Casino (CASP.PA) as well as drugmakers Pfizer (PFE.N) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L).

In total, Luxembourg-based mutual funds group ValueInvest Asset Management S.A. had 982 million euros in assets under management at end-March. (Reporting by Peter Starck; Editing by Rupert Winchester)

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