It's the closest thing to good news fund giant Janus Capital Management can offer: On Monday, the firm will reopen one of its best large-cap growth funds to new investors. After becoming something of an investment fad in the late '90s, the fund company once known for its aggressive technology bets and large stakes in individual companies is now plagued by poor performance and large outflows. Many of its managers have since been forced to keep big stakes of cash. The $2.3 billion ( JAOLX) Janus Olympus , which closed in May 2000, has certainly suffered the decimated growth market and huge outflows. (Assets stood at $6.2 billion at the end of 2000.) But it's primarily the fund's small cash position that has prompted its reopening -- manager Claire Young needs an infusion of new money to help take advantage of the appealing picks the bear market has generated. "I'm seeing more compelling investment opportunities, at more reasonable valuation, than I've seen in several years," Young said in a Janus release. "By reopening the fund, I hope to be able to take advantage of those opportunities."
Unlike Janus's other closed funds, Olympus has just 2.7% of its net assets in cash -- which makes meeting redemptions and embarking on a buying spree mutually exclusive. In dramatic contrast, ( JAVLX) Janus Twenty had 28.1% of its assets in cash as of June 30, while Janus Worldwide's cash stood at 7.2%. Janus has no plans to reopen other funds, according to a spokesman. The decision to reopen or close a fund is entirely up to the portfolio manager. "It's pretty straightforward," says Morningstar analyst Brian Portnoy. "There are plenty of portfolio managers out there who want some fast cash to buy beaten-down stocks." Janus Olympus had a rough time in 2000 and 2001, when it was down 22% and 32%, respectively. When growth stocks rallied in the fourth quarter of 2001, though, the fund gained 20% in that period, far better than the group average, Portnoy says. The fund -- which counts Maxim Integrated Products ( MXIM), Citigroup ( C) and Nvidia ( NVDA) among its top holdings (down 38%, 32% and 86% for the year, respectively) -- has lost 24.5% year-to-date as of Thursday, but that's also better than the group average. Its long-term record is strong as well, beating 95% of its peers. Whether investors heed Olympus's call for new money, though, is anyone's bet. Just don't make it a big one.