The first Internet fund has grown up.

The WWW Internet Fund is the first Internet fund to receive a rating from Morningstar of Chicago. The fund has received the honor because it is the oldest existing Internet fund.

The WWW Internet Fund, which is managed by WWW Advisors of Lexington, Ky., received a four-star rating from Morningstar this month. The fund was started Aug. 1, 1996. Morningstar does not rate funds with less than three years of performance history.

Just over a year ago, there were only three Internet mutual funds on the market and most were being managed by relatively small fund groups. The Munder Net Net Fund of Birmingham, Mich. was also started in August, 1996, and the Internet Fund of Babylon, N.Y., was started in October of that year. Monument Funds of Bethesda, Md. started the Monument Internet Fund in November, 1998.

But Internet funds have proliferated in 1999. There are now over a dozen managed and index Internet funds on the market or in registration with the SEC, including products by E*Trade of Palo Alto, Calif., Goldman Sachs of New York, ING Funds of Philadelphia and Investec Guinness Flight of Pasadena, Calif.

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