About half of the 100 top performing global stocks last month were in materials and processing, and the financial sectors, said Stephen Wood, senior portfolio strategist at Russell Investments. The sectors were buoyed by the effects of the subprime turmoil and the threat of a U.S. recession. In financials, what youre beginning to see is capital coming in to those extremely distressed assets, he said. Returns in the materials sector were boosted by a too-pessimistic view of the U.S. economy that artificially pushed prices down. We priced in almost a certainty of a recession, Mr. Wood said.
Forty-five of the top 100 stocks are U.S. stocks; 13, Japanese; nine, Taiwanese; eight are from the U.K.; and five are from Kuwait.
IMPAC Mortgage Holdings Inc. was the best performing stock in January, returning 156.36% for the month. Second was Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc., up 92.2%, and third was Egdon Resources PLC, up 67.99%.