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Best Micro-Cap Funds Pay Off Big-Time

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Schneider Small Cap Value (SCMVX), with assets of $94 million and a two-star rating from Morningstar, is up 26% this year and has a 10-year annualized return of 13%. Known as an aggressive fund that does its own fundamental research, its portfolio includes stocks with a wide range of prices and market capitalizations.

Its top five holdings and weightings are: Arch Coal (ACI), 8.3%; Cloud Peak Energy (CLD), 6.4%; Meritage Homes (MTH), 5.3%; Axcelis Technologies (ACLS), 4.3%; and Regional Financial (RF), 3.3%.

ModusLink Global Solutions (MLNK), 1.7% of the fund; price: $6.92, down 27% this year; market cap: $303 million.

The company is focused on e-commerce for businesses, including supply-chain management and marketing-distribution services. In its most recent fiscal quarter, it reported a net loss of $6.7 million, compared with net income of $8.6 million in the same quarter last year.

Axcelis Technologies (ACLS), 4.3% of the fund; price: $3.34; up 114% this year; market cap: $362 million.

The company also makes equipment used in the manufacture of semiconductors. Several big computer-chip makers are its customers, including Samsung Electronics. It has a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 16.4. It recently reported third quarter revenue of $75.1 million, up 29% from the prior quarter and a net loss of $6.3 million, or 6 cents a share.

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