Small cap funds have hard time finding values

|By:, SA News Editor

Many highly regarded small-cap funds have put up "no vacancy" signs to new investors, writes Sarah Max in Barron's, their managers cautious among perky valuations or unwieldy AUM, or both. Notable closures include the $1.6B Artisan Small Cap Investor Fund, the $6.2B Fidelity Small Cap Discovery Fund, and the $993M Hotchkis & Wiley Small Cap Value Fund. T. Rowe Price has also closed two of its top performers, the $10.4B T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Fund and the $16B T. Rowe Price New Horizons Fund.

Caution may be in order given the big run for small-caps, but fund manager Bill Grierson says the current Russell 2000 (IWM +1.1%) P/E ratio is just slightly higher than its 10-year average of about 17x. Further, Q2 sales growth is at about 9% so far.

Another manager allows it's not an easy time to find cheap stocks, but beyond the sexy segments there's a whole universe of small companies, and he's been picking up some names.

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