BOX; To pick a winning mutual fund:

Decide what you want the fund to do. Does it need to increase your savings, generate income or preserve your wealth?

Look beyond five-star ratings. Even Morningstar Inc. will tell you this. Most public libraries carry Morningstar's and Value Line's detailed reports on individual mutual funds.

Focus on investing style. Most stock funds specialize, favoring large-company stocks over small-company stocks or growth investing over a value approach to stock picking. Avoid a fund that drifts from one style to another.

Compare returns only among similar funds. Value funds did well last year, but only a comparison to other value funds would show whether yours was good or mediocre.

Don't credit a new manager with the old manager's track record. Some financial advisers suggest selling a mutual fund if its manager leaves, waiting for the new manager to establish his own record.

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