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Muriel Siebert & Co.


2 NEW INDEX FUNDS



If you're into index funds, here are two that are new to the market in more ways than one.

Ten years ago index funds were around but investors weren't nearly as interested in them then as they are today. Typically inexpensive to own as their annual management fees tend to be lower than those on other types of mutual funds, these funds don't ask their fund managers to be great stock pickers. Instead, the keepers of these funds' portfolios are more overseers than stock jockies.

Two brand new index funds to the market place include one that invests in Internet stocks, the other, Israeli and U.S. companies. First, the Internet-related fund.

INVESTEC Guinness Flight has experienced terrific success with the Wired Index Fund, ( 800-915-6565), launched last December. That fund invests in an index made up of tomorrow thinking kinds of companies and was up over 25 percent at the end of the second quarter---well ahead of the almost 12 percent returns on other index type funds.

At the end of July, they plan on introducing the INVESTEC Guinness Flight internet.com Index Fund ( 800-915-6565). This fund will track the internet.com Interent Stock Index. It is an index created in 1996 that tracks the performance of Interent stocks in seven major categories: e-commerce, software, hardware, security, content, high-speed services and access.

There are 50 companies included in that index. Some of them are Amazon, Cisco Systems, ebay, and Yahoo!

Jim Atkinson, head of the U.S division of INVESTEC Guinness Flight is well aware of the volatility of Internet stocks but says that even so, " an index fund is a convenient way for investors to access the Internet opportunities." Minimum initial investment, excluding monthly automatic plans or retirement accounts, is $2500.

Meanwhile, TransNations Investments introduced their first fund, AMIDEX35 Mutual fund, (888-876-3566). It's a fund that invests in 35 different companies---some United States, the others from Israel.

Cliff Goldstein, president of AMIDEX Funds, Inc. said that Israel is third in the world in the number of stocks listed and trading on Wall Street. The first two being the United States, then Canada.

Some of the U.S. companies that make up this index are hi-tech like Amdocs, Comverse, ECI, Galileo, and Checkpoint. As for the Israeli holdings, they aren't hi-tech companies but more traditional ones.

"The second universe are stocks that trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange," says Goldstein. " These stocks are primarily from the banking, insurance, chemical and retail industries."

Israeli-based companies that are a part of the AMEDEX35 Index include Bank Leumi, Israeli Discount Bank and Dead Sea Works.

Managing this portfolio is Boaz Rahav, an economist with previous mutual fund experience. Entry fees, excluding retirement accounts, is a hefty $10,000.

As with any brand new fund, even the no-loads like these two are, there's no telling what performance will be like, how much money investors will throw into them, or, how much the fund's annual expenses will run. Goldstein said that the AMIDEX35 Index fund expenses are expected to be about 2.25 percent. That's high for an index fund. No word yet from INVESTEC Guinness Flight on their expected annual management fees. But in either case, the performance of a fund has to be pretty great for it to attract ---and keep ---its investors when things as basic as annual expenses run high.

Jumping into new funds can be rewarding. But before jumping in, make sure you can live with the risk of investing in funds that may sound appealing but have no previous track record to prove it.

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