Fidelity Blue Chip Growth: Uninspiring
Large, growing companies are poised to step into the spotlight, but we're not sure this fund will shine.
Editor's note: This is part of a continuing series of articles looking at the 20 biggest no-load stock funds.
The prospects for blue chip stocks are bright, but the outlook for Fidelity Blue Chip Growth is hazy. The fund, which invests in large, fast-growing companies, has ranked in the bottom 30% of its peer group in each of the past four calendar years. Over the past decade, it gained 6% annualized, matching the average large-company growth fund, but lagging the S&P 500-stock index by an average of nearly three percentage points a year.
And now the fund has a new manager. After more than a decade at the helm, manager John McDowell retired in November. His co-manager, Brian Hanson, also left, to concentrate on other funds. Enter Jennifer Uhrig, who previously skippered Fidelity Advisor Equity Growth, a load fund with a mission similar to that of Blue Chip Growth. During her nine-year tenure, Equity Growth performed roughly in line with its peers. But while Blue Chip Growth has been stuck in a rut because McDowell and Hanson clung tightly to an out-of-favor style, Uhrig was able to invest in some medium-sized companies at Equity Growth.
In her nearly three months on the job, Uhrig has guided Blue Chip Growth to a 3% gain. That's still a percentage point behind the S&P 500. The fund's top holdings represent a who's who of, well, blue-chip names. They include Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Apple and Wal-Mart. Nearly 10% of the fund's assets were recently in pharmaceuticals, including Merck, Wyeth and Schering-Plough. Altogether, health and technology stocks account for half of assets.
Given Uhrig's uninspiring track record, we see no compelling reasons to stick with Blue Chip. Current shareholders should SELL this fund.
Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (FBGRX)
Assets: $20.1 billion
Return (vs. S&P 500)*:
Expense ratio: 0.63%
*Returns through January 30
View updated data for this fund and compare the performance of the 20 biggest no-load stock funds.