Giving The Gift Of Mutual Funds

Here’s an idea for you last-minute shoppers: Give the gift of mutual funds. Morningstar’s Christine Benz says they’re a good idea if you’re looking for a gift that lasts – and you get a tax break. She gave Sue Herera three picks on today’s “Power Lunch.”

* Vanguard Star is a one-stop fund for those looking for a balanced basket of foreign and domestic stocks and bonds. The minimum requirement to buy in is $1,000.

* The Oakmark Fund is run by one of the top stock pickers in the industry, says Benz. Bill Nygren is a value investor, but he’s been finding great blue-chip growth stocks recently as well.

* The Artisan International Fund is another fund run by a top manager – Mark Yockey. According to Benz, AIF is well diversified and less volatile than a lot of other international funds.

In addition to buying shares in a fund, gift-givers can also remove assets from their taxable estate. In 2006, people can gift up to $12,000 per person without triggering a tax.