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Mutual Funds

Dodge & Cox Reopens Two Champions

For the first time since 2004, new investors can buy into these low-cost value funds.

One of the more pleasant side effects of recent market turbulence is that it has triggered the reopening of several outstanding no-load funds that have long been closed. Add Dodge & Cox Stock (symbol DODGX) and Dodge & Cox Balanced (DODBX), both closed since 2004, to the list of recently reopened funds.

Like their sister funds, Dodge & Cox International and Dodge & Cox Income (both members of the Kiplinger 25), Stock and Balanced are managed by investment committees at San Francisco-based Dodge & Cox. All four funds are sticklers for buying securities at the right price and tend to hold them for long periods. Stock, one of the 20 largest stock funds, typically holds securities for seven years or longer.

Like many value-oriented funds, Stock lagged Standard & Poor's 500-stock index over the past year. But the fund's long-term record is out-standing. Over the past ten years to February 11, it returned an annualized 11%, an average of six percentage points per year ahead of the S&P 500. At last report, 20% of the fund's $59 billion in assets was in foreign stocks, including Sanofi-Aventis, Sony and Matsushita Electric.

Balanced, which dates from 1931, has about two-thirds of its assets in stocks (the same as those in the Stock fund) and a third in high-grade bonds and cash. It gained 10% annualized over the past ten years. Stock and Balanced both charge modest annual fees of 0.52% and require $2,500 to start.