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WHEN DUMB NAMES HAPPEN TO GOOD FUNDS

NAMING A MUTUAL FUND The Gabelli Global Interactive Couch Potato Fund may have seemed a gently whimsical notion a few years back. Now, however, the idea seems merely half-baked.

Money manager Mario Gabelli launched Couch Potato in 1994 as a multimedia investment vehicle to buy growth stocks in the telecommunications, entertainment, and computer industries. The fund has done well, averaging a respectable 18.3% annual return since inception and a smart 41.7% last year.

The name has proved a clunker, though. Couch Potato has attracted a paltry $45 million in assets in four years. ''I think people don't know what it is,'' says Marc Gabelli, Mario's 30-year-old son, who runs Couch Potato.

Do investors think Marc picks stocks with a beer in one hand, a remote in the other? Maybe they pass it up because they figure a Couch Potato has no get-up-and-go. Who knows? At any rate, Gabelli now wants to rename Couch Potato. Nothing has been chosen yet, but it may be wise to pass up any name with a vegetable in it.

EDITED BY ROBERT McNATT
Robert Barker


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Updated Jan. 29, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.
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