FOR 15 years through 2005, Bill Miller, one of the country's most closely watched and widely worshiped stockpickers, made investments that handily beat stock market averages. But for the last two years, the market has handily pulverized him.
As the chairman of Legg Mason Capital Management, Mr. Miller helps oversee a $35 billion portfolio and is directly responsible for managing its marquee mutual fund, the $12 billion Legg Mason Value Trust. He says his recent travails have been humbling.
"I have been through periods like this before," he says thoughtfully, during a lengthy interview at the Baltimore headquarters of Legg Mason Inc., the holding company for all the Legg Mason entities. "The difference is that we are a lot larger and more visible, and so there is a lot more client focus than there was then."
But, really, a period like this? After all, the federal government has just bailed out Wall Street, and the broader economy has been on tenterhooks for months as fears of a recession -- or worse -- loom on the horizon.