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Emerging market fears hit Aberdeen shares

Aberdeen Asset Management's shares have suffered a further fall, leaving them 21.7% down in the year to date, amid worries that emerging markets are in for a tough time.

Investors have become jittery as China's economy has slowed and the US Federal Reserve begins its two-day policy meeting today, during which it could decide to begin withdrawing the supply of cheap money that many think have supported share prices.

Aberdeen is especially vulnerable because many of its highest-regarded funds are invested in emerging markets.

Its shares closed down 6p or 1.5% on the day at 391.3p. They had finished 2013 at 500p.

Espirito Santo analyst Phil Dobbin said: "Aberdeen remains a cash generative asset manager, which has over time demonstrated strong operational results and an improving blended fee dynamic.

"We believe that at the current price the shares retain strong value characteristics, but the company needs to demonstrate that it can return to more normal levels of gross sales and repair the damage to its short-term equity fund performance."

Earlier this month the Scottish house revealed it had suffered net outflows of £4.4 billion in the final quarter of its financial year.

The downward trajectory has not deterred Aberdeen non-executive Richard Mully, who splashed out £60,000 on the company's shares. The former investment banker bought 15,000 shares at 400p each, Aberdeen announced to the stock market yesterday. This is the first share purchase he has made since joining the board in April 2012.

Dominic Rossi, global chief investment officer for equities at rival funds house Fidelity Worldwide, said: "We have seen this movie before. One EM (emerging market) country after another gets left stranded on the shore as the tide goes out. The weakest ones first, Argentina and Turkey, soon to be followed by Brazil, Russia and others."

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