"We are very cautious on 2009," says Gary Dugan, chief investment officer of Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management in Europe, Middle-East and Africa and author of Year Ahead 2009. "Equities are attractively valued but investors need to take a limited risk to achieve modest gains," Dugan told reporters at a press conference held at Merrill's London offices in early January.

While Dugan advised that a Merrill absolute return fund would allocate up to 25% in equities that have a distinctive Western

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