We came across a handful of mutual fund stories that may be of some general interest.

Karen Dolan at Morningstar.com has some interesting factoids about some mutual funds that just might surprise you.

Chet Currier at Bloomberg.com notes the geographical center of gravity is shifting westward.

We are not all that excited about the prospects for an actively managed ETF, however in an interview with Lisa Sherzer at SmartMoney, Gary Gastineau thinks the introduction of these funds is the logical next step for the product.

Diya Gullapalli in the Wall Street Journal reports on the disappointing performance of the handful of open-end mutual funds that invest in merger arbitrage strategies.

Overall, merger funds posted widely varying results last year, ranging from quarter-point losses to 5% gains. While the funds often want investors to focus on absolute returns, or else returns relative to certain bonds rather than the broader stock market, they barely squeaked by even those benchmarks. That makes them appealing mainly for investors looking for some extra payout over things like money-market funds.

Despite the raft of merger deals many of these funds have been unable to capitalize. So much so that two of the funds have re-opened to new investment. The question is whether they will be able to attract much in the way of investment when the expectations for them are so low:

“Investors should think about this as an enhanced money-market return,” says Mario Gabelli, the fund’s manager.