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5/20/2004

Morningstar upgrades Janus Capital funds

DOW Jones/The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Janus Capital Group stock rose Tuesday, a day after the Denver mutual funds company received a long-awaited upgrade from Morningstar Inc.

Janus shares closed the day at $15.38, up $1.03, or 7.2 percent, on the New York Stock Exchange, but retreated 6 cents to $15.32 on Wednesday.

The surge comes after Morningstar, the influential Chicago research firm, raised its assessment on Janus funds to “Proceed with Caution,” from “Consider Selling,” the rating Janus was given in September after it was accused of allowing rapid-fire market-timing trades in its mutual funds.

“We believe that investors can once again consider investing in Janus funds,” analyst Dan McNeela wrote Monday on its Web site, morningstar.com. “We do not feel that the slate has been wiped clean, but we believe that the firm is heading in the right direction.”

The upgrading follows Janus’ agreements with state and federal regulators last month to settle allegations of market timing.

Morningstar also said it was encouraged by other recent steps Janus has taken to address concerns about the direction of the firm, including the departure of chief executive Mark Whiston and the appointment of Steve Scheid as his successor.