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Muriel Siebert & Co.


INVESCO'S GROWTH & INCOME FUND



Look around for relatively new growth and income funds that have come out of the box with a bang, and you're bound to notice INVESCOs Growth & Income Fund.

Around since July 1998, this fund was started to meet a couple of needs. First, style. INVESCO, whose underlying investment philosophy is growth-centered, didn't have a fund that fit into the growth and income style box. So, because investors have become style conscious and frequently choose or are advised to diversify their fund picks among the various types of funds that make up the style box, i.e. like growth, small-cap, large-cap, value funds, etc., there was a need for an entry into that field.

The second reason, investor interest.

"Many investors have an interest in growth and income funds vs. 100 percent blue-chip growth-only funds, " says Fritz Meyer, one of two portfolio managers on INVESCOs Growth and Income Fund, ( 800-675-1705). "Plus, they want some dampened volatility over time. In some of the big company dividend paying stocks, stock prices don't always gyrate as wildly."

On a total return basis, Meyer's hopes the fund keeps up with INVESCOs Blue Chip Growth Fund. Thus far, it's done better. Year-to-date performance figures for the Growth and Income Fund, as of August 31, show it with a total return of 15. 68 percent and a 1-year total return was 64.05. The Blue Chip Growth Fund's year-to-date total return was 8.51 percent; for the year it's ahead 45.23 percent.

With 50 stocks in the portfolio, you'll find not only monster blue chip companies like Microsoft and General Electric, but also a few smaller ones such as Teligent, a $3 billion dollar company in the telecom field. The income the fund kicks off comes from stocks only. Currently, the portfolio's yield is about 1.5 percent---roughly the same as the S & P 500s.

Technology is the fund's largest sector weighting, as it currently is with most of INVESCOs other diversified equity funds. It makes up about 30 percent of the fund. After that comes health care, about 15 percent; then consumer cycles, 12 percent; and communications services, 10 percent. The remainder of the holdings are spread among the various sectors not represented.

What's Meyer's says is "conspicuously absent" from the portfolio are things like transportation and utility stocks. "They are what we think are the non-growthy areas of the economy and happen to be a lot more cyclical by nature," he says." And,we just don't think we're expert enough to time rotation in-and-out of the cyclical categories."

But Meyer's is confident about is growth companies. Does he think growth stocks are going to run out of steam any time soon? No.

What he sees driving this "extraordinary" economy more than anything else is technology and investments in it. Meyer said that because we are in a competitive global economy where world-wide there are labor surpluses and an abundance of raw materials, he doesn't see corporate America as able to raise prices across the board.

"So, the way that they improve the bottom line is to continue to invest in productivity enhancements. And that's technology. It's information technology, computing and communications technology, " he says. "Then, when you get into health care and things like that, there are also huge advances in technology there too."

On the side of caution, while it's hard to dispute the power of large-cap growth stocks, it's good to diversify. Just because they've dominated market performance since 1995 doesn't mean they will do so year-in and year-out. Which is one reason why style matters; it's keep you logical.

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