Up 56% last year, 55% this year, Kluiber is still looking for bargains

October 12, 1997|By BOSTON GLOBE

BOSTON -- At 38, Rudy Kluiber is frank in admitting what he's looking for: a few good stocks and one good woman. So far, he's doing great on the stocks.

In fact, in a stock market where small is suddenly beautiful, there are many bigger names but few have been putting up bigger numbers.

Over the last 12 months, Kluiber's State Street Research Aurora Fund was up a stunning 73.45 percent, ranking it No. 1 out of 424 similar small-cap funds tracked by Lipper Analytical Services. Year-to-date, Aurora ranks No. 2, up 55.01 percent -- this after a 56.57 percent gain in 1996.

Since February, the Aurora Fund's assets have exploded to $400 million from $12 million. Inflows of that magnitude can torpedo the performance of a small fund, and State Street Research moved to slow the growth last month by raising the minimum investment to $100,000 from $25,000. This makes Aurora a fund definitely aimed at high-net-worth investors.

Not bad for a guy just 2 1/2 years into managing his first fund.

Is it beginner's luck or has a star been born? "Nobody will know whether I'm successful unless we have a really wicked-bad bear market," says the self-effacing Kluiber.

Kluiber is a "value" investor, looking for inexpensive, often out-of-favor stocks.

He has two criteria for what he buys.

"First we try to limit the downside," he says. Then, once he's found a cheap stock, Kluiber looks for what he calls "ways to win," things such as cost reductions, new management, new products and free cash flow.

Pub Date: 10/12/97

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