Just over a week ago, the nation watched in horror as the space shuttle Columbia broke into pieces over Texas during its return trip to earth. While the future of the space program has been put in jeopardy, or at least called into question, funds investing in aerospace have little to worry about due to companies in this sector being well diversified into other areas, including military and defense contracts, according to experts.

Only one fund, the Fidelity Select Defense & Aerospace fund, is considered a true aerospace and defense fund. However, many aerospace and defense stocks appear in other funds as a way for managers to diversify their portfolio. Some have significant portions of their portfolio dedicated to this sector, such as the Trainer Wortham First Mutual fund, a large growth fund. Albeit small, with $33.84 million in net assets, 22.7% of the fund consists of aerospace and defense stocks, so the sector can affect the fund's performance significantly. The Fidelity Select Air Transportation fund, another small fund with $29.72 million in assets, has 27.1% of its total net assets, in aerospace and defense stocks.

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