Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks capital appreciation. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in the stocks of growth companies of any size that Dreyfus believes to be leading producers or beneficiaries of technological innovation. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but its stock investments also may include preferred stocks and convertible securities of both U.S. and foreign issuers, including those purchased in initial public offerings (IPOs). Up to 25% of the fund's assets may be invested in foreign securities (i.e., securities issued by companies organized under the laws of countries other than the U.S.).
In choosing stocks, the fund looks for technology companies with the potential for strong earnings or revenue growth rates, although some of the fund's investments may currently be experiencing losses. The fund's investment process centers on a multi-dimensional approach that looks for opportunities across emerging growth, cyclical or stable growth companies. The fund's investment approach seeks companies that appear to have strong earnings momentum, positive earnings revisions, favorable growth, product or market cycles and/or favorable valuations.
The fund typically sells a stock when the portfolio manager believes there is a more attractive alternative, or there are deteriorating fundamentals, such as a loss of competitive advantage, a failure in management execution or deteriorating capital structure. The fund also may sell stocks when the portfolio manager's evaluation of a sector has changed.
Although not a principal investment strategy, the fund may, but is not required to, use derivatives, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to stocks, indexes, foreign currencies and interest rates), forward contracts and swap agreements, as a substitute for investing directly in an underlying asset, to increase returns, or as part of a hedging strategy. The fund also may engage in short-selling, typically for hedging purposes, such as to limit exposure to a possible market decline in the value of its portfolio securities.
An investment in the fund is not a bank deposit. It is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency. It is not a complete investment program. The fund's share price fluctuates, sometimes dramatically, which means you could lose money.
* Technology company risk. The technology sector has been among the most volatile sectors of the stock market. Because the fund's investments are concentrated in the technology sector, its performance will be significantly affected by developments in that sector. Technology companies, especially small-cap technology companies, involve greater risk because their revenue and/or earnings tend to be less predictable (and some companies may be experiencing significant losses) and their share prices tend to be more volatile. Certain technology companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or may depend on a limited management group. In addition, these companies are strongly affected by worldwide technological developments, and their products and services may not be economically successful or may quickly become outdated. Investor perception may play a greater role in determining the day-to-day value of tech stocks than it does in other sectors. Fund investments made in anticipation of future products and services may decline dramatically in value if the anticipated products or services are delayed or cancelled. The risks associated with technology companies are magnified in the case of small-cap technology companies. The shares of smaller technology companies tend to trade less frequently than those of larger, more established companies, which can have an adverse effect on the pricing of these securities and on the fund's ability to sell these securities.
* Risks of stock investing. Stocks generally fluctuate more in value than bonds and may decline significantly over short time periods. There is the chance that stock prices overall will decline because stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and falling prices. The market value of a stock may decline due to general weakness in the stock market or because of factors that affect the company or its particular industry.
* Small and midsize company risk. Small and midsize companies carry additional risks because the operating histories of these companies tend to be more limited, their earnings and revenues less predictable (and some companies may be experiencing significant losses), and their share prices more volatile than those of larger, more established companies. The shares of smaller companies tend to trade less frequently than those of larger, more established companies, which can adversely affect the pricing of these securities and the fund's ability to sell these securities.
* Growth stock risk. Investors often expect growth companies to increase their earnings at a certain rate. If these expectations are not met, investors can punish the stocks inordinately, even if earnings do increase. In addition, growth stocks may lack the dividend yield that may cushion stock prices in market downturns.
* Foreign investment risk. To the extent the fund invests in foreign securities, the fund's performance will be influenced by political, social and economic factors affecting investments in foreign issuers. Special risks associated with investments in foreign issuers include exposure to currency fluctuations, less liquidity, less developed or less efficient trading markets, lack of comprehensive company information, political and economic instability and differing auditing and legal standards. Investments denominated in foreign currencies are subject to the risk that such currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar and affect the value of these investments held by the fund.
* Liquidity risk. When there is little or no active trading market for specific types of securities, it can become more difficult to sell the securities in a timely manner at or near their perceived value. In such a market, the value of such securities and the fund's share price may fall dramatically.
Please refer to prospectus for additional Risk Details.
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. Download a prospectus, or a summary prospectus, if available, that contains this and other information about the fund, and read it carefully before investing.