The Building Boom Fizzles

Our infrastructure picks were battered, and so were three growth-stock recommendations.

President Barack Obama's promised investment in infrastructure came too late to stem the carnage in the stocks of its expected beneficiaries. The case for infrastructure stocks, which we laid out in The Great Global Building Boom, remains sound: Over the next 20 years, it will cost trillions to build and maintain roads, bridges and other infrastructure around the world. What's more, Obama wants to make infrastructure spending a big part of his economic-recovery program.

But for now, the primary megatrend is the global market meltdown, which infrastructure stocks could not escape. Over the past year through January 9, an exchange-traded fund we recommended, iShares S&P Global Infrastructure Index (symbol IGF), dropped 39%. During the same period, Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 35%.

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Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance