Who are the big Internet players at
You'll find the go-go Internets where you would expect them, of course, in select funds like
Technology. All have been putting up big numbers this year as Internet stocks continue to surge.
But plenty of Fidelity's technology-hungry managers are also playing in the larger growth funds. Two such managers are
New Millennium's Neal Miller and John Muresianu, the new manager of the stodgy Fidelity
Many Fidelity managers spent 1998 increasing -- in some cases doubling -- their technology holdings. This activity explains, in part, the strong performance that put the complex at the top of the rankings among the big fund families.
There's little evidence that Fidelity is a significant player in the most speculative Internet stocks, but there is reason to believe Fidelity is not afraid to play, even at these prices. Fidelity is the No. 1 institutional holder of
Jim Lowell, editor of the newsletter
, estimates that AOL moved from Fidelity's 32nd-largest holding to its seventh-largest from the end of the third quarter to the end of the year.
moved to number 290 from 469 during the same period, he says.
Lowell says the big moves were a product of rising valuations, rather than of Fidelity loading up the stocks. "If you are going to ride the Internet bull, any manager knows he is going to get thrown off," Lowell says. Lowell looks for managers to take profits, not buy more.
The numbers reflect that Miller and Muresianu are the two most obvious cowboys riding the "Internet bull."
For 1999, New Millennium was up 21.1% through Friday and Fidelity Fifty was up 13.2%, making them the leaders among the company's big diversified funds. The average growth fund was up just 0.45% during the same period, according to
Miller's style was made for the Internet. He has built a career and a fine record betting on big trends. He has never been one to worry much about conventional measures of value, but he wants to know where the world is going.
Right now that place is the Internet. Miller has 38% of his $1.7 billion portfolio in technology, double the weighting of the
index and up from 23% a year ago. His two biggest holdings: CMGI and Yahoo!
The Fidelity Fifty, managed by Muresianu, is one of the most interesting -- if slightly odd -- funds at Fidelity right now. Face it, don't you love the image of a former history professor on the cusp of the Internet revolution?
A Harvard Ph.D. and former assistant professor of history at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., Muresianu took over the $180 million Fidelity Fifty on Jan. 4 from Scott Stewart, who had not been able to beat the S&P since 1994.
The fund immediately took off. With the lag in data, it is hard to tell exactly what is propelling the quant-driven Fidelity Fifty. The fund is highly concentrated, with roughly 50 stocks in the portfolio. But Eric Kobren, executive editor of
, believes the fund has about 20% of its assets in Internet stocks.
His evidence is the fund's strong daily correlation with Internet stock funds like
Munder Net Net and the
Internet Fund. For instance, on Jan. 20, Fidelity Fifty fell 2.3% and the Internet Fund was down 3.5%; the S&P 500 was up 0.5% on that day. You can find similar correlations throughout January.
Muresianu joined Fidelity as a research analyst in 1986, and specialized in utilities and Canadian funds. But one of his assignments was running Fidelity
Select Utilities Growth, an aggresive utilities fund that invests mainly in telecommunications stocks.
Kobren is no especial fan of New Millenium, which is closed to new investors, or of Fidelity Fifty. Internet stocks mean volatility, he says. His advice: "Proceed with caution."