Plus, more Morgan Stanley changes and ProShares' latest ETFs.
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Fidelity plans to reopen two offerings, merge two away, and rename three others.
Large-growth Fidelity Contrafund
Low-Priced Stock, which has been closed since December 2003, has seen its assets shrink from its April 2007 peak of $41 billion to $18 billion as of October 2008. It remains the largest actively managed offering in its category, though. Manager Joel Tillinghast, Morningstar Domestic-Stock Manager of the Year in 2002, is more willing to delve into large caps and foreign stocks than his peers. The fund has an impressive long-term track record. Its 0.96% expense ratio is cheap compared with other no-load, mid-cap offerings.
Fidelity also asked for shareholder approval to merge Fidelity Select Paper & Forest Products
Foreign large-growth Fidelity Aggressive International
Morgan Stanley's Latest Changes
Morgan Stanley recently said goodbye to two of its fixed-income managers. Lead fixed-income manager Steven Kreider of balanced offerings Van Kampen Equity and Income
The disruption should be minimal as Morgan Stanley uses a team-managed approach and all other members of the fixed-income team are staying put. Verma and his team will continue running the fixed-income sleeves of Equity and Income and Balanced with the goal of providing stability and current income. Management will keep the bulk of the portfolio in high-quality bonds and make minimal interest-rate bets. Both Equity and Income and Balanced have held up relatively well in the last turbulent year.
The team at Limited Duration Bond has to dig the fund out of a deep hole. The fund has shed 16.7% for the year to date through Dec. 3 due to its bulky stake in hard-hit mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. The fund has one of the worst long-term track records in the short-term bond category.
ProShares' Newest ETFs
ProShares, a unit of ProFunds Group, recently launched the first exchange-traded funds that short and offer leveraged exposure to gold and silver. ProShares Ultra Gold and ProShares Ultra Silver seek to provide double the daily return of the underlying commodities; ProShares UltraShort Gold and ProShares UltraShort Silver seek to provide twice the inverse returns. The firm also launched ProShares Ultra DJ-AIG Commodity, ProShares UltraShort DJ-AIG Commodity, ProShares Ultra DJ-AIG Crude Oil, and ProShares UltraShort DJ-AIG Crude Oil, which work in the same manner. The first two offerings are benchmarked to the Dow Jones-AIG Commodity Index and the latter two funds to the Dow Jones Crude Oil Sub-Index. All eight funds have a 0.95% expense ratio.