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April 03, 2006
Fundalarm gets on the new, small funds bandwagon
Roy Weitz's web site, Fundalarm.com, provides a lot of useful info for fund investors, especially on the message boards where generally insightful folk discuss the latest goings on at funds and fund companies. It's a great, if somewhat hard to navigate, place to keep tabs on your favorites. Roy writes a monthly column and he's just introduced a new columnist who will focus on new mutual funds.
Dubbed Fundalarm Annex and written by Augustana College Prof. David Snowball, the feature reviews both promising and less-promisng upstarts while also covering overlooked small funds. In an era when your favorite manager is running money counted in the tens of billions (and Fidelity just locked up Will Danoff), it's an important service. Alerting people to "red flags" in new funds is fine but good ideas for new invetsments are much more useful. So I was more drawn to two of Snowball's first picks for small, overlooked funds.
Exeter Equity (EXEYX) has gained almost 22% a year over the past three with what looks like a go-anywhere stock picking style. Snowball notes that returns have exceeded the S&P 500 with lower risk. Like the funds I highlighted back in January, it's run by a well-regarded institutional manager with a solid track record, in this case Manning & Napier Advisors in Fairport, NY.
His other pick is Metzler/Payden European Emerging Market Fund (MPYMX). This fund fills a great portfolio niche by focusing on Russia, Turkey, and eastern and central Europe. Closed-end funds that invest in the region generally trade at big premiums and most open-end fund choices are less focused.
All in all, Snowball's annex is worth a return visit.
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