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Fidelity fund manager quits BARRY FLYNN UPI Business Writer

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BOSTON -- The manager of Fidelity Investments' highly successful Overseas Fund said Friday he will quit to work for himself, becoming the company's third major portfolio manager to leave in less than a year.

George Noble, 34, had guided the Overseas Fund, now at $903 million in assets, since its inception six years ago. Noble, who began his career at Fidelity in 1980 as a summer intern, said he is resigning effective Jan. 31 to start an international hedge fund to be based in Boston with Thomas Niedermeyer, who currently is head of international sales at Morgan Stanley & Co. in New York.

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Noble said he wants the flexibility of engaging in bearish strategies that he cannot use while he runs an equities fund. 'I have been cautious on the world for some time now,' he said.

'I think the 90s are going to be a much more difficult decade for the equities than the 80s. I still see a lot of opportunity to make money on the short (bearish) side, especially in Japan,' he said.

But Noble indicated his move is not a market call.

'There are always some stocks underpriced and some overpriced,' he said. 'I want to avail myself of all the opportunities out there.'

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Under Noble, the Overseas Fund had a total return of 136.86 percent in the past five years to become the third best-performing fund investing in foreign markets in that period and the 14th top performing fund among 866 funds tracked by Lipper Analytical Services of Summit, N. J., Lipper said.

Succeeding Noble will be Penny Dobkin, who has managed other foreign funds for Fidelity.

Peter Lynch, for years the manager of the company's huge and very successful Magellan Fund, took early retirement last spring. Bruce Johnstone, who had been running Fidelity's Equity Income Fund, left the fund in September to oversee Fidelity's foreign portfolio management.

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