Strong American Utilities Fund to Change Name, Focus:Portfolio Will Include Dividend-Paying Value Stocks

Strong Capital Management's American Utilities Fund will change its name to the Strong Dividend Income Fund and broaden its investment focus to dividend-paying value stocks, subject to shareholder approval.

The fund's board of directors approved the changes as a result of Securities and Exchange Commission regulations that would have required 80% of the fund's portfolio to be utilities stocks beginning in July 2002. "Rather than further limit flexibility, we think we can better achieve our shareholders' objectives with these proposals," said Strong VP Dena Russart in a statement.

The Utilities Fund will add large-cap, value-oriented, dividend-paying stocks, such as financial, consumer goods and healthcare companies, to its holdings. Another change approved by the board will modify the fund's advisory and subadvisory fees to track the fund's performance compared to the Russell 1000 Value Index.

The fund has nearly $273 million in assets and was founded in 1973. The fund's subadvisor is W.H. Reaves & Co., Inc.

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