At the same time, gearing levels also continued to fall. As of September 30, 2004, the average borrowing level was 12% against 13% recorded in the previous month and 14% at at the start of the year.Smaller companies dominate the performance table over the past 12 months, with European Smaller Companies, Global Smaller Companies and UK Smaller Companies accounting for three of the top five trust sectors. Topping the one-year figures were European Smaller
Companies, which on £100 invested at the end of last September would have returned £134. Additionally, for the first time since May 31, 2002, three-year average investment trust performance figures moved into positive territory last month. The average trust recorded a 15% return for shareholders, compared with a 7% decline in the three years to the end of August 2004. The top-performing sector was again the country specialist, Far East sector, which on £100 invested would have delivered £203 to investors. Second best was the Far East ex Japan sector, which was up 69% in share price terms.