CHICAGO -- Garrett Van Wagoner and Steve Kirson are sticking to their tech guns, but they don't know when it will pay off.
The Fund World's Winners and Losers Gather
Disclosure Takes Center Stage
Defiant Growth Skippers Don't Shrink From Tech
Bond Guru Gross Expects 5% Returns From Stocks and Bonds in Coming Years
Garrett Van Wagoner Explains It All for You
Value in Telecom? Legg Mason's Miller Thinks So
On ETFs, Fund Costs and Fidelity's Cryptic Faves
No Room at the Value Fund Inn for Tech
Van Wagoner's eponymous
Emerging Growth fund and Kirson's
Putnam OTC & Emerging Growth fund rode giant tech bets to 291% and 127% gains, respectively, in 1999. But each has lost more than half its value over the past year. Facing financial advisers and reporters at the
2001 Morningstar Investment Conference
, both say they aren't about to change their stripes.
"We haven't changed a darned thing," Van Wagoner said. "We're still spending most of our time trying to figure out what's going on in the world of technology. That was the case in 1999, and it's the same now."
Van Wagoner, who routinely dips into the private, or venture capital, market, is still focusing on companies he thinks will emerge from the current downturn with more market share than they had going in. That's led him to
in the data-storage area. He's also still a believer in content-management shop
At year end, the Van Wagoner Emerging Growth fund had 89% of its money in tech stocks. For his part, Kirson still has 40% of his "diversified" growth fund in tech -- down from 65% when the
peaked last year.
"Because we look for companies with 20% earnings growth, we end up with a big tech weighting," Kirson said. "We feel very confident tech will resume its top growth status."
as his favorite stock in his portfolio.
Not all the news is bullish, though.
Van Wagoner concedes he hasn't bought much and says his top holding -- Interwoven -- is the same as it was at the start of the year.
Another manager, Brian Berghuis of the
T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth fund, fought the pressure to overweight tech and still isn't too excited. He bought tech in the first quarter, but just 18% of his fund was in tech on March 31. Furthermore, he's been selling.
"I haven't bought a tech stock since April 15," he said. "I've been selling tech as it ralled in the second quarter."
If there's a theme among growth managers, it's that investors should try to focus on leading companies because demand for their products and shares will rise first. Unfortunately, another theme is that no one can say when that day will come.
As originally published, this story contained an error. Please see
Corrections and Clarifications.
Fund Junkie Ian McDonald writes daily for TheStreet.com. In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He invites you to send your feedback to
firstname.lastname@example.org, but he cannot give specific financial advice.