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Morningstar's Christine Benz: Pick & Pan Of The Week

Santa's not the only one with a naughty and nice list. Morningstar's Christine Benz has one, too. On today’s “Morning Call,” Benz reveals her fund pick and pan of the week.

Christine Benz is Director of Fund Analysis with Morningstar Mutual Funds.

Pick:USAA International USIFX:

Benz says, "USAA farms out the management of this fund to outside managers, and David Mannheim and Marcus Smith of MFS have done a bang-up job since taking over here in mid-2002. The fact that Mannheim et al use a valuation-conscious approach has certainly helped in the value-leaning market of the past five years, but they’ve also done well on the stock-selection front. As a result, the fund’s three-year returns land near the foreign large-growth category’s top quartile, even though Mannheim and Smith typically skimp on red-hot emerging markets names."

Pan:BlackRock International MDILX:

Benz says "Following its union with Merrill Lynch’s asset-management business, BlackRock now has some fine investment managers together under the same roof. However, this fund isn't best of breed. Its returns have been poor, it has had a fair number of manager changes, and its costs are well above average for front-load international funds."

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USIFX
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BLKRK INTER A
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