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Oil Prices And Stocks

From the sublime to the ridiculous: That's about as apt a description as you'll get for the Houston art scene in the coming weeks. Through July 4, an eclectic mix of works by painter and former postal worker Kermit Oliver is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts. The 61-year-old African American artist from Waco, Tex., gained prominence after a former Neiman Marcus (NMG) executive got him a commission designing Herm?s scarves in the 1980s. The scarves are part of the exhibit, along with more than 70 of Oliver's often classically inspired paintings (

On the lighter side, a wacky collection of automotive art will wind its way through Houston's streets in the 17th annual Art Car Parade on May 14 ( More than 250 painted, decoupaged, adorned, and sculpted cars will take part. Last year's entries included the Mobile Lisa, a rolling homage to Leonardo's Mona, and the Autopotamus, a Toyota RAV4 transformed into a giant, purple hippo.

Boston-based Fidelity Investments has seen rival American Funds in Los Angeles closing in on its ranking as the nation's largest fund company. American fared better during the bear market and last year took in almost four times as much in net sales. Three of American's funds are larger than the $57 billion flagship Fidelity Magellan (FMAGX).

Now the giant is taking a page out of its rival's playbook. While Fidelity has always been a shop of individual superstar managers such as Peter Lynch and Will Danoff, American's managers run only a slice of any one fund. Last month, Fidelity divided assets of two big funds with mediocre performance -- the $22 billion Blue Chip Growth Mutual Fund (FBGRX), which has beaten just half of similar funds in the past three years, and the $8.4 billion Mid-Cap Stock Mutual Fund (FMCSX), which has trailed the average return of its peers four years in a row, according to Morningstar. The division "makes a lot of sense to improve [the mid-cap fund's] performance, which was disappointing," says John McDowell, Fidelity's head of domestic equity. A second manager for the Blue Chip fund, which McDowell runs, will give him more time for oversight.

May is the month of the Kentucky Derby, Mother's Day, and now free golf lessons. Thousands of PGA teaching pros will be offering free 10-minute lessons to anyone interested in learning to play or sharpening their game. For a list of instructors, go to, enter your zip code, and click on "Free Lesson Month."

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