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Mutual Funds

Should You Come Back to Magellan?

Manager Harry Lange showed his stuff in 2007. If growth stocks remain in favor, his fund should shine.

Investors can now do something they haven't been able to do for a decade, except through some select retirement plans: They can buy into Fidelity Magellan, one of the most famous mutual funds ever.

Magellan, which reopened to all new investors in mid January, was the poster child of the Great Bull Market of the 1980s. Run by Peter Lynch from 1977 to 1990, it returned 27% annualized. Even after Lynch left, investors shoveled money into the fund. Assets peaked at $110 billion in 2000.

Lynch's successors had mixed results, and disillusioned investors voted with their feet. With assets now at $45 billion, Magellan (symbol FMAGX) doesn't even make our list of the 20 biggest funds.

The asset exodus could reverse course under Harry Lange, who took over Magellan in late 2005. Lange holds mainly large-company stocks with above-average earnings growth. But he will sometimes pick midsize- or small-company stocks or snoop for bargains. He also owns a chunk of foreign issues. (For Lange's views, see Magellan's Boss: Big Is Best.) Magellan stank in 2006's value-driven market. But with the revival of growth stocks in 2007, it gained 19%, beating the market by 13 points. With the wind at Lange's back, we think Magellan is worth a look. The fund's minimum is $2,500, and annual fees are a low 0.54%.