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Rating:January 16, 2001 Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, January 16, 2001

January 16, 2001

Reported by Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

SEC Officials Explains Portfolio Pumping Probe
From Wall Street Journal
The Journal picks up on the Securities and Exchange Commission's investigation into trading at fund firms to see if they are practicing "portfolio pumping." The paper quotes Lori Richards, director of the SEC's office of compliance, inspections and examinations from remarks made to the Mutual Fund Directors Council. The paper reports that a "special SEC task force" uncovered 30 to 40 mutual funds whose performance rose from three to five percent on the last day of the quarter. "It may involve market manipulation. It's too preliminary for us to tell, but it's possible," Richards said. She added that SEC's examination is looking into about 18 months, or six quarters, worth of trading and is still in the preliminary stage.

Is Artisan For Sale?
From Barron's
Word in Barron's is that Milwaukee-based Artisan Partners is for sale. The paper reports that "late last year" Artisan engaged Goldman Sachs to solicit offers with an asking price in the $415-$500 million range. Sources for the article are "people familiar with the matter" and founder Andrew Ziegler told the paper that Artisan is not for sale.

Money Fund Assets at Five Year High
From Barron's
Merrill Lynch's mutual-fund research group estimates that a spike in money-market assets, including a $54 billion surge last week, are now equal to 27% of all long-term mutual-fund assets. This is the highest percentage since the summer of 1996.

Merrill Lynch Offers ETFs on Euronext
From Wall Street Journal
Merrill Lynch International has beaten Barclays and SSgA by introducing exchange-traded mutual funds on Euronext. The exchange resulted from the merger of the Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris stock exchanges. Merrill's Euro Stoxx 50 LDRS and Stoxx 50 LDRS funds have been traded on the New York, Frankfurt and Zurich exchanges since last year and have volume of more than $2 billion daily. Societe General, Barclays Global Investment and State Street Global Advisors are expected to launch exchange-traded funds on Euronext in the coming weeks, the paper reports.

Short Funds Find No Gain in Pain
From Los Angeles Times
T Despite the cracking of the Nasdaq, short-specializing mutual funds are still out of favor. These funds, including ProFunds UltraShort OTC and Rydex Arktos, are at the top of the fund charts. Yet they are not taking in floods of new assets. Michael Sapir, chairman of ProFunds Advisors, reports that the firm's three short funds saw outflows of $62 million in the fourth quarter ($40 million in December alone). Rydex Funds saw outflows of $89 million from its four short funds last quarter.

Fidelity Insight
From Barron's
Jim Lowell, founder of Fidelity Investor, is in a different spot in Barron's. The Fidelity watcher is himself watched in the article. The article explains that Lowell tracks the fund managers at Fidelity, not the funds, to make his picks for his newsletter.

Advantus Mortgage Securities
From Wall Street Journal
Advantus Mortgage Securities Fund manager Kent Weber gets ink for his $32 million fund in the Journal. The profile calls Weber "a stock picker in a bond market." His fund invests in pools of mortgage loans.It is one of 18 funds in the Minneapolis-based Advantus Family of Funds, advised by Advantus Capital Management, a unit of Minnesota Life Insurance Co.  

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