First, the news. The Neuberger Berman International Fund (FUND:NBITX) is closing its doors to new investors, but the Longleaf Partners International Fund (FUND:LLINX), which closed its doors to new investors back in February of 2004, is reopening them. (The Longleaf fund counts among its top holdings Canada's Shaw Communications (NYSE:SJR), Mexico's Cemex (NYSE:CX), and America's Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).)

What's going on when funds close and open? Well, every now and then, you'll hear of a mutual fund closing its doors to new investors. (Often in these cases, existing shareholders are permitted to add to their investments in the fund.) That's certainly a bummer if you wanted to invest in the fund, though if you keep up with the fund, you might get enough advance warning to buy shares before the doors close. Some funds don't even give much warning, though, since they don't want a flood of last-minute dollars. Other funds that have closed include the Fidelity Small Cap Stock Fund (FUND:FSLCX) and the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (FUND:FLPSX).

On the whole, though, fund closings are good news for current shareholders. That's because successful funds will continue attracting more and more money, and the fund's managers will have more and more trouble finding attractive places in which to invest that money. As they begin parking dollars in their less-than-best ideas, the fund's performance can suffer. Responsible managers don't want that, so they close the funds.

Remember, many closings are temporary. The Longleaf fund, for example, is reopening because its managers are seeing enough attractive investments to justify receiving additional dollars.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Dell, which is an Inside Value recommendation. The Motley Fool disclosure policy never closes its doors.