|Picks and Pans |
Jim Lowell offers his ratings for the newly load-free Fidelity funds
Lowell cautions that investors shouldn't hesitate if they want to tap into Tillinghast's stock-picking mojo. Low-Priced Stock closed three times in the past after taking in heaps of new cash. "This fund may close again, so don't hesitate," Lowell said. The Contrafund and its sibling Contrafund II have posted records that may attract new money, as well. The Contrafund, run by William Danoff since 1990, invests in large-cap companies that look undervalued -- leading it to companies such as Colgate-Palmolive ( CL) and Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A). It's something of a "growth lite" fund, given its aversion to tech and other high-priced fare. The fund's long-term returns have been stellar -- the 10.86% average annual return through May 31 beats the 9.94% return of the S&P 500 and ranks it in the top 15% of its large-growth peers, according to Lipper. With $29.61 billion in assets, its one of the 10 largest funds in the U.S. Its sequel, the $692 million Contrafund II, has shared a similar mandate -- to invest in companies whose value hasn't been fully recognized. But its DNA isn't quite the same. Among its biggest holdings are Microsoft -- putting the fund's tech weighting at 11.2%, which is down from 14.2% in October but above Contra I's 8.5% weighting. The fund's five-year average annual return of 4% through May 31 crushed the S&P 500's 1.08% average annual loss and ranks the fund in the top 9% of all large-cap growth funds, according to Lipper. Adam Hetnarski has managed the fund since February 2000. The New Millennium fund, a $2.97 billion growth fund, is more than 50% mid-cap, but can scoop up large or small stocks it likes. While the recent returns have been choppy, the fund's 10-year average annual return of 17.25% ranks numero uno among 62 capital appreciation funds tracked by Lipper. The fund's go-anywhere approach turns up mega caps such as Dell ( DELL), mid-cap growers like Cheesecake Factory ( CAKE) and tiny, wireless-equipment shop Andrew ( ANDW). While Fidelity's Brockelman said Fidelity has no plans to reopen New Millennium to new investors, Lowell, for one, hopes the firm reconsiders: "