Until recently it seemed that nothing could knock any of the Janus funds off their perches. Then, the Nasdaq tumbled this spring, taking many of Janus' offerings with it. Still, none have fared as poorly as Janus' ( JAVTX) Venture fund, a small-cap portfolio with a sizable bet on the Internet. Of course, the tech selloff has been hard on most growth funds. But Venture has suffered more than most. Such a reversal of fortune is stunning for a fund that put up triple-digit returns last year and beat its peers by a wide margin in 1998. "They came down so far, and that's because they bought smaller players in the Internet sector," says Diahann Lassus, a financial adviser with Lassus, Wherley & Associates in New Providence, N.J. Indeed, other small-cap funds have been able to diversify away from the volatile sectors to limit the damage. The average fund in the category is down just 5.8%, while Venture is off by 29.8%. That puts its performance in a league with clobbered Net funds like ( MFITX) Monument Internet, down 31.2%, or the ( WWIFX) WWW Internet fund, down 31.6%, year to date. What's more, Venture has taken it on the chin more than most other Janus funds, which co-manager Jonathan Coleman attributes to the portfolio's inherently more volatile small-cap style. But the fund has sunk to the bottom of its peer group, with a performance worse on both relative and absolute bases than any of the once highflying Janus funds.
|Worst-Performing Janus Funds This Year |
|Fund||Year-to-date return||Percentile Rank in Category||1999 return|
|(JAGTX) Global Tech||-7.8||43||212|
|Small-Cap or Net Fund? |
Janus Venture is performing more like an Internet fund than a diversified small-cap fund.
|(JAVTX) Janus Venture||-28.5%|
|TheStreet.com Internet Sector index||-29.1|
|Russell 2000 index||-5.0|
|Source: Baseline. Data through May 22|