After taking a licking this year, one of the first Internet funds is officially giving up on pure dot-com stocks. The fund's shareholders are probably wondering what took it so long.
Monument Internet fund is now the Monument Digital Technology fund -- its focus will expand beyond pure-play dot-com stocks to include a broader range of hardware and software shops that help consumers and Old Economy companies use the Web, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Bethesda, Md.-based firm. While the fund apparently always had the leeway to look beyond companies that solely do business on the Net, its pure-play picks have hurt this year.
The fund, launched two years ago, rode Net stocks to a 273.1% return that beat all Net funds last year. Since then, portfolio manager Alex Cheung
quit to form his own firm and the fund's picks have sagged. Over the past year, the fund is down 0.4%, and since Jan. 1, it's lost 39.6%. Both returns trail more than 90% of the fund's tech peers, according to
It's hard to say which picks have hurt worst because, ironically, the fund's page on Monument's Web site was unavailable Wednesday morning. But a look at the fund's portfolio through the end of May shows a number of pure-play picks that are cratering this year. Back then, the fund's top 10 holdings included
, down 73%,
, down 33.5%, and
, down 20.2%.
Since its peak on March 10, TheStreet.com Internet Index , an index laden with dot-com stocks, is down more than 50%, according to
Jacob Internet, the Net fund run by former Internet-fund manager Ryan Jacob, has ridden several dot-com stocks such as
down to a fairly stunning 65.5% loss since Jan. 1. Net funds of all sorts have taken a
vicious beating this year.
Of course, it appears the fund was never required to focus on dot-coms. Its prospectus requires the fund to put 65% of its assets in stocks of companies in "Internet-related" businesses. At the end of May, the portfolio held
, two companies often criticized for their modest Net efforts.
Monument said its move reflects the firm's belief that "a narrow focus on 'dot-coms' is no longer justified." Rather, the fund will focus on stocks of companies that help individuals connect to the Net, according to Bob Grandhi, the fund's manager since the end of March. One such company is
, maker of the ubiquitous Palm Pilot.