China Provides Fertile Ground for Funds
Last year was not a good year for xenophobic investors.
TheStreet.com Ratings' list for the top stock funds in 2006 was dominated by international investments, particularly those in China.
The top five stock funds, as well as eight of the top 10, were invested in China, led by the ( DPCAX ) Dreyfus Premier Greater China Fund , which returned an impressive 85.6% for the year.
Despite the high returns from the top 20 funds, only one, (ESMAX) AIM European Small Company A , garnered a rating of A or higher. The low grades for the top earners can be attributed to the volatility of the stocks held in these funds.Because the international funds on the leader list tend to be more volatile than most stock funds, seven funds on the leader board earned a rating in the "C" range, which is the equivalent of a "hold" recommendation. Additionally, five of the top funds lacked sufficient history to even be rated. While the Chinese market was red-hot, things couldn't have been more different for those investing just across the East China Sea. Three of the bottom 20 performers turned out to be Japan-focused funds, including the (FJSCX) Fidelity Japan Smaller Companies fund, which was down more than 21.5% in 2006. The list excludes leveraged funds as well as their "inverse" cousins that move in the opposite direction of stock prices, frequently at an accelerated pace. Such funds are virtually sure things to dominate top and bottom performance rosters, frequently with a leveraged version of a given fund near one end and an inverse version of the same at the opposite end. Overall, 2006 was generally kind to stock fund investors. Of nearly 14,000 open-end stock funds tracked by TheStreet.com Ratings, only 2.7% failed to have positive returns for the year. Nearly 70% of the funds recorded double-digit gains, with almost 2,700 funds rewarding investors with returns exceeding 20%.
|Stock Fund Leaders and Laggards
|Name||Ticker||Investment Objective||2006 Total Return (%)||3-Year Annual Return (%)||TSC Ratings Grade|
|Dreyfus Premier Greater China A||DPCAX||Non-US Equity||85.58||25.61||B+|
|Oberweis China Opportunities Fund||OBCHX||Non-US Equity||81.17||0.00||U|
|Old Mutual Clay Finlay China A||OMNAX||Non-US Equity||78.55||0.00||U|
|J Hancock Greater China Opp B||JCOBX||Non-US Equity||69.15||0.00||U|
|Columbia Greater China B||NGCBX||Non-US Equity||68.19||27.40||B+|
|ING Russia A||LETRX||Emerging Market Equity||67.52||44.75||C|
|Gartmore China Opport A||GOPAX||Non-US Equity||67.26||0.00||U|
|AllianceBern Greater China 97 A||GCHAX||Non-US Equity||65.53||21.76||B-|
|Matthews China Fund||MCHFX||Non-US Equity||64.80||22.32||B|
|MSIF Inc. Intl Real Estate A||MSUAX||Sector - Real Estate||56.06||38.54||A+|
|US Global Inv World Prec Minerals||UNWPX||Sector - Precious Metals||52.30||26.26||C-|
|T. Rowe Price Latin America||PRLAX||Non-US Equity||51.24||49.61||C+|
|US Global Inv Gold Shares||USERX||Sector - Precious Metals||50.19||23.39||C-|
|ING Greater China Fund A||IFCAX||Non-US Equity||48.77||0.00||U|
|AIM European Small Company A||ESMAX||Non-US Equity||48.07||42.66||A|
|Eaton Vance Asian Small Co A||EVASX||Non-US Equity||47.30||26.25||C|
|Janus Fd Inc-Overseas Fund||JAOSX||Non-US Equity||47.21||32.21||C+|
|Janus Aspen International Gr Inst||JAIGX||Non-US Equity||47.02||32.26||B|
|BlackRock Latin America Inv A||MDLTX||Non-US Equity||46.84||48.28||C+|
|Evergreen Emerging Market Growth I||EMGYX||Emerging Market Equity||46.72||32.05||B-|
|And Here Are Your Laggards...|
|Ameritor Investment||AIVTX||Growth - Domestic||-85.71||-69.13||E-|
|MassMutual Premier Small Co Opp A||DLBMX||Small Cap||-26.39||-5.34||E-|
|American Heritage Growth Fund||AHEGX||Growth - Domestic||-25.00||-24.61||U|
|Fidelity Japan Small Companies||FJSCX||Non-US Equity||-21.54||10.69||E-|
|Rydex Series-Commodities Fund A||RYMEX||Sector - Other||-18.11||0.00||U|
|BlackRock Real Investment Inv A||MDCDX||Sector - Energy/Natural Res||-16.62||0.00||U|
|Oppenheimer Real Asset A||QRAAX||Sector - Energy/Natural Res||-13.08||9.53||E-|
|American Heritage Fund||AHERX||Aggressive Growth||-12.50||-8.04||E-|
|Rice Hall James Small/Mid Cap Port||RHJMX||Small Cap||-11.32||-0.18||E-|
|STI Classic Var Tr-Sm Cap Val Eq I||Small Cap||-11.03||7.33||E-|
|Ameritor Security Trust 1||ASTRX||Aggressive Growth||-10.00||-8.50||E-|
|Vanguard Str Brd Mrkt Ins plus shs||VSBPX||Growth - Domestic||-9.74||0.00||U|
|Oak Assoc-Live Oak Health Sciences||LOGSX||Sector - Health/Biotechnology||-9.34||4.37||D-|
|Fidelity Adv Japan A||FJPAX||Non-US Equity||-9.13||11.60||E+|
|Gabelli Comstock Partners Strat A||CPFAX||Aggressive Growth||-9.04||-10.74||E-|
|Pacific Capital MidCap C||PMACX||Mid Cap||-7.05||6.38||D-|
|Saratoga Adv Tr-Large Cap Growth B||SLGZX||Growth - Domestic||-6.79||3.62||E|
|STAAR Inv Trust Sm Comp Stock Fund||Small Cap||-6.60||3.45||E|
|Matthews Japan Fund||MJFOX||Non-US Equity||-6.44||9.45||E|
|MassMutual Select Aggres Gr A||MMAAX||Aggressive Growth||-6.34||6.90||D-|
|Excludes leveraged and "inverse" funds.
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings
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