Diversify & Conquer

Experienced management and varied investment vehicles are key to beating lackluster returns. Here are 100 funds that hit the mark.

basket,” says Holland. “We’re concerned that the dollar may weaken.” If the U.S. dollar loses ground, the stocks of foreign countries are likely to appreciate as their currencies move up in value.

“We have steadily recommended international allocations,” says Holland, “including international small-cap and emerging markets funds for most clients. Altogether, about 20% of equity allocations are in international funds.” Holland’s favorite foreign funds include Harbor International (a value fund) and Artisan International (which holds growth stocks); for smaller accounts that may have room for just one foreign fund, she cites Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund, which combines European, Pacific, and emerging markets indexes.

“For international investing,” says Johnson, “China and India are poised for growth while the European Union seems to have problems. My preference is to invest in a world stock fund and let the manager pick the best companies. However, you might want to look and see if the manager has a history of investing in the high-growth areas of Asia.”

Kinnel suggests combining Vanguard International Growth, a large-cap fund that does not hedge currency risk, with Tweedy, Browne Global Value, a fund that invests in smaller companies and hedges in order to protect U.S. investors from a weak dollar. “This strategy can provide more diversification for your overseas holdings,” he says.

Thus, to diversify your mutual fund holdings you must go beyond buying a few funds holding the same blue-chip stocks; you need various types of assets, domestic and international. “Your mother and your grandmother probably told you not to put all your eggs in one basket,” says Baker. “Well, they were absolutely right. You shouldn’t try to catch the ‘next big thing.’ Instead, stick to a diversified portfolio.”

B.E.’s Top Mutual Fund Performers

FUND NAME TICKER SYMBOL 1-YEAR RETURN 3-YEAR RETURN 5-YEAR RETURN MINIMUM INITIAL INVESTMENT PHONE

LARGE GROWTH

Old Westbury Mid Cap Equity OWMCX 4.83% 4.23% 5.30% $ 1,000 800-607-2200
Legg Mason Growth Trust Primary LMGTX -2.92 22.35 3.14 1,000 800-822-5544
Calvert Social Investment Equity A CSIEX 5.56 6.70 2.81 1,000 800-368-2748
Dreyfus Premier Alpha Growth T BSFAX 6.03 6.60 2.72 1,000 800-554-4611
Fidelity Contrafund FCNTX 11.94 11.53 2.58 2,500 800-343-3548

MID GROWTH

Delaware American Services A DASAX 11.30 17.87 16.33 1,000 800-362-7500
Eagle Growth EGRWX 17.22 7.27 11.16 500 800-749-9933
Meridian Growth MERDX 2.65 11.03 11.14 1,000 800-446-6662
Columbia Acorn Select Z ACTWX 10.23 14.49 10.71 1,000 800-345-6611
Munder MidCap Select A MGOAX 17.00 17.19 8.95 2,500 800-468-6337

SMALL GROWTH

Oberweis Micro-Cap OBMCX 2.27 23.13 12.59 1,000 800-323-6166
Schroder U.S. Opportunities Inv SCUIX 14.48 14.55 11.10 10,000 800-464-3108
John Hancock Small Cap A DSISX 10.92 9.79 9.33 1,000 800-225-5291
Dreyfus Premier Future Leaders R DFLRX 9.98 10.42 9.29 1,000 800-334-6899
Dreyfus Premier Future Leaders A DFLAX 9.54 10.01 8.91 1,000 800-334-6899

LARGE BLEND

Mairs & Power Growth MPGFX 5.96 11.52 11.16 2,500 800-304-7404
Century Shares Trust CENSX 6.09 7.57 11.06 250,000 800-321-1928
AmSouth Select Equity A ASECX -2.13 7.19 8.98 1,000 800-451-8382
Thompson Plumb Growth THPGX -4.23 7.41 8.61
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