As investors pull money out of the falling stock market, several high-profile mutual funds are reopening to new investors.

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As investors pull money out of the falling stock market, several high-profile mutual funds are reopening to new investors.

The latest are from Fidelity: the $47.67 billion Contrafund, which closed in 2006, and the $17.8 billion Low-Priced Stock Fund, which closed in 2003. Both will accept cash from new investors beginning Dec. 16.

Funds sometimes close their doors when they become too big. A huge asset base can make it harder for managers to nimbly trade in and out of positions. But the bear market has shrunk the funds’ assets, as have redemptions by shareholders.

Fidelity says 85 to 88 percent of the funds’ assets are earmarked for retirement. As investors approach retirement age, they begin pulling out cash. Contrafund (FCNTX) has lost 41.7 percent for 2008 through Thursday, compared with the S&P 500’s loss of 41.2 percent. Low-Priced Stock Fund (FLPSX) is down 43.6 percent year to date.

Holiday cheer

This year has been a bummer for stocks, but investors may find cheer in this December nugget: The month has historically been the best for the market, according to Standard & Poor’s.

Since 1945, the S&P 500 index has gained an average 1.8 percent in December. In each of the other 11 months, on average, it has gained 0.5 percent. Not only have the gains in December been bigger, they’ve also been more consistent. About 76 percent of Decembers over that stretch have featured a rise for the S&P 500. The remaining 11 months have seen gains just 57 percent of the time, on average.

It will take a strong finish for December to end in the black this time. So far this month, the S&P 500 is down 2.3 percent.

Women fund managers

More women are reaching the top rungs of fund management. Among the 200 largest mutual funds, women are in 44 of the 373 top manager or co-manager positions, or about 12 percent, according to Morningstar. That’s up from 8 percent a decade ago, when women occupied just 28 of the 352 top spots.

The Associated Press