Funds Notebook: Long-Short Fund Closing Later Rather Than Sooner

Also, Carlson and Ziegler come together again at Artisan; money floods into Internet fund.
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In the "go figure" department,

Montgomery Funds

is touting returns for its hot

(MNGLX)

Global Long-Short fund in a press release that also informs potential investors that the fund will soon close to avoid out-of-control asset growth.

After noting the fund's "continued" market outperformance during the first quarter of 1999, the firm stated that it is "committed to ensuring the fund's asset growth progresses in a prudent and steady manner."

"In that vein," the release continues, "the Montgomery Global Long-Short fund will shut its doors to new investors by June 30, 1999."

When

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Vanguard Health Care closed to new investors in February, it gave investors only a few hours' notice. Montgomery Global Long-Short, on the other hand, is offering a nearly three-month window for investors to get in on its for-a-limited-time-only deal.

Managers of the 1 1/2-year-old fund use a bottom-up stock picking approach to find fast-growing companies in which to invest long, plus weak companies to short (borrowing shares in the hope that the price will fall and the shares can be replaced for less). To date, the young fund's strategy has worked. It's up 17% so far this year vs. a 5.6% return on the

S&P 500

, according to

Lipper

.

The fund's $104 million in assets are a lot less than the $322 million held by the similarly structured

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Caldwell & Orkin Market Opportunity fund when it put the

brakes on new investment last August. Assets in that fund also ballooned after word of its market-beating returns made headlines.

Carlson and Ziegler Together Again

They may not be Sigfreid and Roy, but Marina Carlson and Carlene Ziegler were once a venerable team. At the helm of the

(SOPFX)

Strong Opportunity and

(STCSX)

Strong Common Stock funds in the early 1990s, the two roared past the

S&P 500

for four years running. But then Ziegler left to start her own asset management group in late 1994 and neither fund has seen a market-beating year since.

Now the team of Carlson and Ziegler are back together at Ziegler's

Artisan

funds, and they are hoping for a little of the old magic to revive the firm's ailing

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Small Cap fund, which reopened to new investors last week.

Carlson, who joined Artisan in early March, will co-manage the $173 million fund with Ziegler, replacing outgoing fund manager Millie Hurwitz, who has announced she will retire. The fund is down 29.6% over the last 12 months, ranking 582 among 646 small company funds tracked by

Lipper

. The fund closed in February 1996 when assets reached $300 million. The firm says the fund will close when assets again hit $300 million.

More of the Same at Internet Fund

Investors continue to throw buckets of money at the best performing fund in the country. The sizzling

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Internet fund is up 96.6% through April 1. It has raked in $40 million since reopening to investors last Monday. The fund was closed to new investment for two weeks while waiting for shareholders to approve an increase in authorized shares from 10 million to 50 million. Assets now stand at $340 million, up from $200 million in February.