Massachusetts Financial Services announced that it will close its MFS Emerging Growth Fund to new investors on Jan. 14.

The small-company growth fund has reached $976 million in assets, and its managers are concerned that they would lose investment flexibility if it grows much larger, the company said in a news release.

Small-company stocks are less liquid, more thinly traded, and not as widely followed as large-capitalization stocks that are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Massachusetts Financial executives explained.

Existing shareholders will continue to be able to invest in the fund, which is offered with both front-end and back-end sales loads. The fund was launched in December 1986.

Boston-based Massachusetts Financial manages $34 billion of assets worldwide.

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