Food For Thought

Manufacturers of consumer staples, such as food, can deliver delicious profits in a slowing economy

we mentioned earlier, were narrowly focused, concentrating on the food industry and consumer staples almost exclusively. Others, such as the Mairs & Power Growth Fund (MPGFX), invest in numerous industry groups, but still choose to carry a heavy percentage of food companies.

When ranked by three-year average annual total returns, the Mairs & Power portfolio led our five funds. Thanks to stakes in General Mills, and meat packer Hormel, the fund has managed a 12.7% average total return over the three-year period that ended October 31, 2001 — although, it was down 4.1% for 2001, when this story went to press. Second place among our five goes to Icon Leisure & Consumer Staples (ICLEX), a portfolio that carries a 22.3% weighting in food shares, including positions in Smucker’s (jams, jellies, and preserves), Smithfield Foods (pork products), and Suiza Foods (milk and dairy products). The defensive stance helped the fund log a 6.8% total return for 2001 through the end of October.

Top Performing Consumer Staple Stock Funds

Fund Name (Ticker)

Food as %
of Assets

1-Year Ann.
Total Return

3-Year Ann.
Total Return

5-Year Ann.
Total Return

Toll-Free
Number

Minimum
Initial Investment

Mairs & Power Growth (MPGFX)

10.97%

4.14%

12.67%

13.97%

800-304-7404

$ 2,500

Liberty Growth & Income A (CFGAX)

11.26

0.48

11.41

15.92

800-322-2847

1,000

Icon Leisure & Consumer Staples (ICLEX)

22.25

9.73

8.11

N/A

800-764-0442

1,000

Fidelity Select Food & Agriculture (FDFAX)

44.15

6.92

2.32

9.55

800-544-8888

2,500

AmSouth Select Equity A (ASECX)

29.54

9.82

1.52

N/A

800-451-8382

1,000

Yacktman (YACKX)

10.41

8.05

1.40

4.84

800-525-8258

2,500

Rydex Consumer Products Inv (RYCIX)

16.37

-2.74

-3.07

N/A

800-820-0888

25,000

Strong Mid-cap Disciplined (SMCDX)

12.08

-0.97

N/A

N/A

800-368-1030

2,500

Liberty Tax-Managed Value A (SRVAX)

11.61

-0.18

N/A

N/A

800-322-2847

1,000

Yacktman Focused (YAFFX)

18.75

0.49

-4.00

N/A

800-525-8258

2,500

Pages: 1 2
ACROSS THE WEB