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Fund Times: Fidelity Makes Changes to Lineup

Plus: Several funds reopen, manager changes, and more.

Morningstar Analysts, 07/09/2007

The latest manager additions at Fidelity come at its short-term bond and value stock funds. Robert Galusza has taken over as lead manager of both Fidelity Short-Term Bond FSHBX and Fidelity Ultra-Short Bond FUSFX (and their broker-sold equivalents). Galusza is a Fidelity veteran with management experience in the firm's stable-value offerings and, more recently, as a manager of short-term bond institutional accounts. Andrew Dudley, leader of both funds for several years, remains a comanager on each fund but will now devote part of his time to institutional accounts as well.

Elsewhere, Matt Friedman joins Rich Fentin as comanager of Fidelity Value FDVLX, Fidelity Advisor Value FTVFX, and Fidelity VIP Value, a variable annuity. While Friedman joins as an assistant portfolio manager, he will be in charge of the fund's day-to-day operations in the near future while Fentin takes a personal leave of absence for about three months. Friedman stays on as lead manager of Fidelity Value Strategies FSLSX. He has posted above-average results in his short one-year tenure at that mid-blend offering.

BlackRock to Reopen Natural-Resources Fund
BlackRock Global Resources
SSGRX will reopen on July 16. This natural-resources fund began a tremendous run in 1998, causing BlackRock to close it in late 2004. But with net asset outflows in 2005 and increasing liquidity among the small caps this fund tends to buy, the firm believes it can accept new assets without harming returns for current shareholders. The fund will remain open, however, only until it gathers about $500 million in assets--that will bring BlackRock's assets under management in this strategy to about $2 billion.

Buffalo Small Cap Opens Again
Buffalo Small Cap
BUFSX will take new assets for about 30 days or until it adds an additional $250 million in assets, whichever comes first. Advisor Kornitzer Capital Management said that its dismissal as subadvisor to $252 million AFBA Five Star Small Cap AFCAX freed up additional capacity, which in turn prompted it to reopen Buffalo Small Cap. Kornitzer also wanted to give shareholders in the AFBA fund, which is shifting to a multimanager approach, the opportunity to buy a Kornitzer-managed small-cap offering. Kornitzer's performance on both the Buffalo fund as well as the AFBA offering has been well above average.

Rice Hall James Reopens Microcap Fund
Rice Hall James Microcap
RHJSX is open for business once again. The fund that invests in only the smallest stocks and has less than $300 million in assets began accepting new investments on June 29. Managed by an experienced team, the fund has delivered above-average results over long time periods versus its small-growth rivals. Having already closed the fund once, it's likely this team will close the fund again--perhaps soon--to ensure continued strong returns.

New Marsico Fund Gets Rookie Manager
Marsico Flexible Capital
MFCFX will soon welcome its second manager in eight months. Marsico Capital Management launched this moderate-allocation fund in December 2006 with Cory Gilchrist at the helm. Gilchrist will stay at his other charge, Marsico 21st Century MXXIX, while Doug Rao takes control at Flexible Capital. This will be Rao's first assignment as a portfolio manager; he was previously a senior analyst at the firm.

Manager Departures Continue at Evergreen
Another Evergreen fund has lost its manager. Evergreen Equity Income's ETRAX Sujatha Avutu is no longer with the firm; Walter McCormick takes over as the large-value fund's new lead manager, and new comanager Gary Mishuris joins him. McCormick also manages Evergreen Fundamental Large Cap EGIAX, a large-blend fund that has seen middle-of-the-road returns since he took over in early 2002. More worrisome here is the continued trend of managers leaving Evergreen funds, which may indicate deeper problems at the firm.

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