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Expect some new funds from

Janus

sometime in the next year or so.

That's what departing chief investment officer and research director Jim Craig coyly suggested in a conference call Wednesday. The topic was his

resignation from the high-profile Denver growth shop where he'd crafted the firm's investment style over a 17-year career, but the new-fund issue always comes up when talking with Janus folks these days. Due to steep inflows seven of its 15 stock funds are closed to new investors. Janus is the top-selling fund shop this year even though its tech-heavy style, which sizzled last year, has cooled.

While the firm hasn't filed preliminary paperwork for any new funds with regulators, it's logical to expect a foreign stock fund, a domestic small-cap fund or a value fund, observers say. Craig wouldn't get into specifics about what might be in the product pipeline, but he did hint that one or more funds may be in the works.

"We haven't filed anything," said the veteran, who's stepping down to run a charitable foundation he's founding with his wife. "But I think you can look at our history of fund closures and

fund creations and see patterns of behavior that will be repeated. That's all I can say."

And not much more needs to be said because that pattern points to more funds soon. In the past, Janus has launched one or two new funds less than a year after closing one to new investors. Now, two of the funds launched in the last two years are shuttered and, in total, it has closed four funds this year. Since Jan. 1, the firm has launched two new funds,

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Orion and

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Strategic Value, but today it has no foreign, global or small-cap funds open to new investors.

"It's realistic to expect one or two new funds in the next 12 months," says Christine Benz, the senior

Morningstar

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analyst who covers Janus' domestic stock funds.

A foreign fund might be the most "obvious" guess, says Benz. The firm's $41.3 billion

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Worldwide fund, the eighth largest in the nation, and $10.2 billion

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Overseas fund have both trounced their peers in each of the last five calendar years and have held up well this year, too. In fact, they are two of the three Janus funds beating their average peer so far this year, but Overseas closed two years ago and Worldwide closed in March.

Another pragmatic possibility would be a small-cap fund.

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Janus Venture, the firm's only true small-cap fund, has been closed to new investors since September 1991. The closest proxy, $8.7 billion

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Janus Enterprise, had 75% of its assets in mid- and large-caps at the end of the first quarter, according to Morningstar.

A third educated guess is a value fund. Unlike most of the high-octane Janus growth funds that pay high prices for fast-growing companies, value funds scour the stock market for unloved bargains. Janus raised well over $1 billion in a four-week subscription period for its $3 billion

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Strategic Value fund this year and the firm has been beefing up its ranks of value-stock analysts supporting that fund's manager, David Decker.

New funds might be a good idea if only to take some of the pressure off those that are still open to new investors, such as $46.1 billion

(JANSX)

Janus Fund, Enterprise, or

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Mercury, says Benz. Even though Janus' funds haven't posted outsize gains like last year, when its average stock fund rang up an 81% gain, they still took in more than $35 billion this year through the end of June. That's tops in the industry. The big intake brought stock and bond fund assets to $205.6 billion, which makes Janus the country's fifth-largest fund shop, according to Boston fund consultancy

Financial Research

. In total, including money run through sub-advisory agreements, separate accounts and other low-profile funds, Janus manages some $300 billion for 4 million investors.

"People love that company," says Andrew Arnott, director of Retail Product Management at

John Hancock Funds

in Boston.

But because of Janus' style, it's not as simple as just rolling out a new fund where the company has a blind spot. Many of the firm's senior fund managers are maxed out in terms of the amount of cash they can run in their style. Unlike most fund shops, Janus doesn't typically bring in fund managers from other firms and hand them funds -- and they don't plan to do that now.

"In typical Janus fashion, we'll launch a new fund when we have an analyst or assistant portfolio manager who's ready to manage money," says company spokeswoman Jane Ingalls. She adds that most of the firm primarily hunts for analysts on undergraduate campuses, not its competitors' coffers, though Benz says Enterprise manager Jim Goff, Overseas/Worldwide manager Helen Young Hayes, Mercury manager Warren Lammert, and former

(JAVLX)

Janus Twenty manager Tom Marsico were actually hired as analysts from

Alger Management

.

In the foreign arena the firm's most visible star, outside of Helen Young Hayes, is Laurence Chang, her assistant portfolio manager on Worldwide and Overseas. But can Hayes spare him? Worldwide, even though it closed in March, is still the top-selling fund through June 30 with a $7.8 billion inflow. That's more than seven times the average global fund's total assets, according to Morningstar.

Another rising star is John Schreiber, who helps Blaine Rollins run the Janus fund, the nation's fourth-largest fund.

Aside from the personnel issues, industry vets say Janus has to be mindful of its reputation, which rides on the success of every fund with its name on it. Most fund companies can quietly experiment with funds, but Janus doesn't have the luxury of anonymity.

No matter what it eventually creates, it will probably sell handsomely.

"It's different for them. The whole market is so enamored with them that you could come out with any fund in any style with their name on it and people would buy it," says Arnott.