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    Future Fund Holds Cash, Shuns Declining Australian Stock Market

    By Gemma Daley

    Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- The Australian government's pension fund invested less than 10 percent of its A$50.6 billion ($47 billion) in local stocks, holding three quarters of its funds in cash amid a 13 percent slump in the S&P/ASX 200 Index this year.

    The Future Fund, started in 2006 to help meet pension liabilities for politicians and public servants, invested 8.8 percent in Australian stocks, 15.3 percent in global equities, 1.1 percent in listed overseas property and 74.8 percent in cash, a statement from the fund said.

    ``As a cashed-up investor, we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities emerging in this new environment in both public and private markets,'' the fund's general manager, Paul Costello, said in the statement posted on its Web site.

    ``The shape of the portfolio reflects a combination of the early stage of our program and our view, expressed in our 2006/07 annual report, that market uncertainty was increasing.''

    It also has A$9.04 billion in Telstra Corp. shares. The former Liberal-National coalition government, ousted at an election in November, transferred the shares last February from the formerly government-owned phone company.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Gemma Daley in Canberra at [email protected]

    Last Updated: February 21, 2008 21:39 EST
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