Magellan (and Fido) Gets it Mojo Back
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Monday, January 07, 2008

Magellan (and Fido) Gets it Mojo Back

Fidelity may have closed its Magellan Fund to all but a few 401(k) plan participants, but that move has done nothing to cool the media's interest in Peter Lynch's old stomping ground. Barron's added its take on the fund this weekend after it noticed Magellan tripled the S&P's return (the final 2008 score was 18.8 percent to 5.5 percent).

"They never lost their mojo, and now they'll have a chance to prove it," is the snappy quote provided to Barron's by James Lowell, publisher of Fidelity Investor. He believes the current market plays into the research skills of FMR and portfolio managers Harry Lange, Will Danoff and Jason Weiner.

Lowell also predicts that Fidelity will reopen Magellan in 2008. Still, a reopening may not have as large an impact as it could if Fidelity does not trumpet the fund's performance.

"The way to get investors back is by marketing the products, not the platform," Lowell is quoted as saying. "These guys wrote the book about growth investing, and this is the kind of market their managers thrive in. If they can just keep delivering, and start talking about it, well, they'll be back on top."

Meanwhile, Walter Donovan, president of the equity division of FMR, seemingly agrees with the analysis that the performance rebound stems from Fidelity's recommitment to research (the article does not report his views on Fidelity's marketing efforts).

"The chairman's game plan is for us to have a way to make money in all kinds of markets, across all sectors," he tells Barrons.

The Boston Behemoth is also seeing better-than-typical performance from its other equity funds. Three in five of Fidelity's diversified equity funds are in the top half of their Morningstar peer group and roughly one in three are now top quartile performers.

That rebound may put the pressure on Fidelity rivals that have benefited from its un-Fidelity like performance in recent years.

Barron's also points to the recruitment of John Dowd as a key move in the restructuring of FMR's research teams.

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