Fund & Games
For those with a politically incorrect bent, here's a fund that loves our vices. Just when you've gotten to the point in life when you know firsthand that too much smoking, drinking and gambling is no way to live, out comes a mutual fund that invests in all those things: the Vice Fund.
The brainchild of Mutuals.com, the Vice Fund (VICEX) started selling shares on September 1, 2002, at $10 per share. At the close of business on October 14, shares were down 61 cents at $9.38.
Dan Ahrens is one of the fund's portfolio managers. He says the fund was started because the things socially responsible funds won't invest in--like alcohol, gambling, tobacco and defense company stocks--represent a potentially lucrative basket of securities. As of late September, the Vice Fund invested its assets like this: nearly 25 percent in alcohol companies, 24 percent in defense stocks, 19 percent in gambling and 18 percent in tobacco companies.
While some sin stocks have made investors plenty of money, gimmick funds like this usually aren't as lucky. Many come to market shortly after the asset class they invest in has peaked, and they often fall short of expectations. Others are poorly managed or don't gather the assets to stay afloat. So if you want to indulge your rebellious streak, do plenty of research first.
Dian Vujovich is an author, syndicated columnist and publisher of fund investing site www.fundfreebies.com.