(Sept. 10, 2002) -- While the number of funds has quadrupled since 1990, a record number of mutual funds have gone the way of the dodo bird since the bear market began in March 2000, according to mutual fund tracker Morningstar.

Morningstar data showed 414 stock mutual funds have been liquidated (sold all their holdings and distributed the proceeds to investors) during the past two years, according to a report by USA Today. That number represents half of the liquidations in Morningstar's database, which covers 4,074 stock funds. Another 566 stock funds merged into other funds, the report said.

If you count multiple share classes for the same funds, the number of stock funds merged or liquidated rises to 1,741, compared to 1,672 before the bear market began, according to the report.

Among the reasons cited were lack of interest from investors, mergers with more successful funds, failed concepts, tiny sectors, and bad sellers.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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