Man vs. Market: Round 15
By Paul R. La Monica

(MONEY Magazine) – Human stock pickers aren't supposed to be able to beat the stock market consistently, but Bill Miller, manager of Legg Mason Value Trust, has done it an amazing 14 years in a row. By late October, however, his fund stood 3.6 percentage points behind the benchmark S&P 500 index for 2005. More than just his investors wonder if he can pull ahead.

Miller is Exhibit A for the argument that a skillful pro can outsmart the market. The odds that his streak is due to mere luck are less than one in 372,000. A win in 2005 would raise that to one in 931,000.

So can he do it? Miller wrote to shareholders last quarter that big techs and financials are due for a bounce. And with top holdings that include Google and J.P. Morgan Chase, he's ready to ride a rally. "This is manageable ground for Miller to make up," says Jeff Tjornehoj, a research analyst at fund watcher Lipper. After all, Miller came from behind last year.