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Top Funds of 2011 Driven by Tech, Energy

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- With barely a month down in 2011, investors are making the most money from large-cap mutual funds in anticipation of a long-awaited revival of global economic growth.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, made up of 30 blue-chip, large-company stocks, broke the 12,000 level yesterday for the first time in 2 1/2 years. It has been buoyed by investors' upbeat take on corporate earnings and President Barack Obama's call to overhaul corporate taxes in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is up 2.8% this year, while the Dow Jones Industrials Average has risen 3.5%.

Flows into all types of equity mutual funds hit a five-week high of $10.1 billion in the week ending Jan. 19, of which $6.9 billion flowed into U.S. stock funds. Bond funds have suffered outflows. It was the sixth week of net inflows to stock funds in the past seven weeks, amounting to total inflows of $17.3 billion for the period, and most of it went to large-cap funds, said EPFR Global, a provider of fund flows and asset-allocation data.

That's a stark reversal from 2010, when U.S. equity funds had outflows of $49 billion.

In terms of performance through Jan. 25, technology mutual funds led the pack with a 3.2% return, followed by industrial funds, 3%; large-cap value funds, 2.5%; health funds, 2.4%; and large-cap blend funds, 2.3% return, according to Morningstar.

ProFunds Short Precious Metals (SPPIX) led all funds in terms of performance through Jan. 25, with a return of 13% this year. The fund is essentially a hedge that gold and other precious metals prices will fall, so as gold slides, it rides. Its long-term record is abysmal: ProFunds Short Precious Metals lost 34% last year and has a five-year average return of minus 24%.

Behind it is Cambiar Aggressive Value Investor (CAMAX), up 11% this year and 51% over the past year. Brian Barish, its manager since August 2007, has loaded up the fund with computer-hardware and energy stocks.

The large-cap value fund has made several recent investments in oil-field services companies. In a prescient bet, Barish added 70,000 shares of Halliburton (HAL - Get Report) during the period ending Nov. 30, making it the fund's largest allocation at a whopping 9%.
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