Certainly 1997 was a time that tried international investors' souls.
And the new year isn't looking placid either to Justin Scott, chief investment officer of the international core and growth stock group of Putnam Investments, Boston. Nonetheless, Mr. Scott and his group see some bright lights for this year.
Possibilities include: continuing interest in restructuring stories in Europe; asset plays in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands that should benefit from the coming European monetary union; investments in some smaller companies; acquisition targets in Asia; and specific stock picks in Southeast Asia, an area Putnam mostly avoided last year.
In Southeast Asia, Mr. Scott believes, the investment landscape is still rocky, but some individual stocks may recover. His group will look for compelling stock valuations on companies that have "franchise values."
Attractive valuations have led the group to bank stocks in Singapore, and an exploration of Japanese banks and financial firms.
These ideas, he predicts, gel into at least one theme: 1998 should be a big year for stock picking.