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Value Funds Found to be Less Socially Responsible

Growth funds tend to be more socially-responsible than value funds, according to a study released Feb. 24 by Morningstar of Chicago.

The study screened ten well-known domestic stock funds for holdings in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, nuclear power, military contracting and environmental issues. The study also looked for funds with stocks in firms highly-regarded for workplace diversity. The funds included three growth funds, two large-blend funds and five large-value funds.

"The three large-growth funds fared best, with just five percent to 14 percent of their assets flunking the social-responsibility test, while the two large-blend offerings fell in the middle. The five large-value funds were the least socially-conscious of the group, with failure rates from 29 percent to 45 percent," said Bill Rocco, a senior analyst for

Growth funds usually invest in industries that are environmentally friendly, like health and technology, he said. Value funds, on the other hand, are more likely to invest in stable, slow-growth industries like energy, utilities and manufacturing. Those industries are more likely to pollute and work with the military than the health care industry, he said.