David Rose propelled his American Century Giftrust to the top ranks of U.S. mutual funds by buying shares of companies whose earnings prospects had been virtually ignored.

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David Rose propelled his American Century Giftrust to the top ranks of U.S. mutual funds by buying shares of companies whose earnings prospects had been virtually ignored.

Rose increased his stake in NII Holdings, a seller of mobile-telephone services from Mexico to Chile, whose shares doubled in the past year.

He also added to his position in América Móvil, Latin America’s biggest mobile-phone company. The company’s American depositary receipts gained 78 percent between November 2004 and last month.

“We’re interested in finding growth and buying growth in areas where the rest of the market isn’t focused,” said Rose, 36, from his office at American Century Investments in Kansas City, Mo.

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American Century’s $970 million fund had gained 24 percent in 12 months, as of Nov. 8, ranking eighth of 240 funds tracked by Bloomberg that buy shares of firms with the fastest-growing earnings.

It’s the No. 1 fund in the group among those with at least $950 million to invest. The top-performing “growth” fund is the $125 million Hennessy Focus 30 Fund, run by Neil Hennessy, up 37 percent.

Rose has improved Giftrust’s performance since replacing Linda Peterson in March 2004.

Even with the recent gain, Giftrust has declined at an average annual rate of 12 percent during the past five years, placing 169th of 179 funds with similar investment styles, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The fund plummeted 35 percent in its worst year, 2001.