Don't waste time being jealous. I've been jealous, for example, of those who have invested in some top-notch mutual funds that later closed to potential investors (such as me). But I've learned that in many cases, if you wait, such funds will often reopen, at least for a while.

In fact, thanks in part to the recently swooning stock market, many more funds than usual have been reopening lately. That's partly due to some short-sighted and impatient investors selling shares, and partly due to managers seeing a lot more bargains these days than they have in a long while, prompting them to seek new money to park in new investments.

At investmentnews.com, I recently read that fund reopenings are at record levels. According to Morningstar, 120 fund share classes reopened to investors, the highest annual level on record. Just last month, 22 fund share classes reopened.

Here are a few funds that have recently reopened or that plan to soon:

  • The Third Avenue International Value (TAVIX) fund. This one sports a five-year average annual return of 22%. It also offers a distribution yield of around 3.7%, but its expense ratio is a fairly pricey 1.45%.
  • The FPA Crescent (FPACX) fund. This fund has a respectable five-year average annual return of nearly 13%. Its yield is around 2.8%, and its expense ratio is 1.25%. Its top holdings recently included ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Chevron (NYSE: CVX), and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT).
  • The Longleaf Partners (LLPFX) fund. This one charges a relatively inexpensive expense ratio of 0.9%, and its five-year average annual return is around 11%. Top holdings recently included Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY), and Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC). This fund is only opening to those who own shares of other Longleaf funds, but it may open more fully in the future.
  • Other funds reopening to investors include two international funds from Oakmark, two small-cap funds from Wasatch, and several from Royce.
  • Want more? Well, none other than the massive solid performer that is the Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) fund is reopening, along with the Dodge & Cox Balanced (DODBX) fund.
  • Fidelity's Magellan Fund (FMAGX), once one of the biggest funds around, is also reopening. But according to my colleague Rick Munarriz, "Investors hoping to resurrect the ghost of Magellan's heyday returns will be disappointed."

What it means
When a fund closes, that's often a good thing, suggesting that the managers have more cash than good investment ideas. (Less prudent managers will just find investments for the money, even if they're not top-shelf ones.) A fund reopening may signal that managers see lots of good ideas and want to deploy more cash into them.

What to do
So should you rush out and invest in these funds while their doors are open? Not necessarily.

Also, remember that these are but a few of the many thousands of funds out there. You may find more compelling ones, with proven managers, appealing track records, and even more exciting prospects. You can find them on your own, by reading broadly or screening for them.

If you don't have the energy or interest to dig up outstanding funds on your own, I invite you to check out our Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter, which offers terrific fund recommendations monthly in an easy-to-digest format. Its picks are beating the market by nearly 20 percentage points. A free trial will give you full access to all past issues, so you can read about each recommendation in detail.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Wal-Mart and eBay. Dell, Symantec, and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Dell and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Try our investing services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.