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3 Small Growth Funds With Steady Results


Another holding is Brocade Communications Systems (BRCD), which makes routers and switches that are used for networking systems. After struggling in recent years, the company introduced new products that are gaining traction with customers. Earnings have been increasing at a rate of more than 20%, but the shares sell for a forward P/E of only 11.

Kalmar Growth-With-Value Small Cap

Another solid fund is Kalmar Growth-With-Value Small Cap, which has returned 7.3% annually during the past five years, outdoing 72% of competitors. Portfolio manager Ford Draper looks for companies that seem poised to increase sales 10% or more annually for a sustained period. The steady businesses helped the fund outdo most competitors during the 2008 downturn. Many of Kalmar's holdings are increasing earnings at rates of more than 15%. But Draper is not willing to pay sky-high multiples. To find reasonable prices, he looks for companies that been overlooked or misunderstood.

A holding is LKQ (LKQX) , which supplies parts that are used to repair cars and trucks. Big customers include auto body shops that buy bumpers, body panels and lights. Sales grew during the recession as drivers repaired old cars instead of buying new ones.

Another holding that grew through the recession is Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA), a retailer. The chain offers a wide selection that ranges from the top prestige brands to mass-market products. The standalone stores offer an alternative to department stores. "Ulta has better values and better selection," says Draper. "They have 390 stores, and they can probably expand until they have 1,000 or 1,200."

Oppenheimer Discovery

Oppenheimer Discovery has achieved a solid record by favoring high-growth stocks that are typically increasing revenues at annual rates of 25% or more. Such stocks can be volatile, but portfolio manager Ron Zibelli limits risk by sticking with very high-quality companies. His holdings have strong balance sheets and dominant market positions. Many are the top players in their industries. Zibelli also controls risk by staying broadly diversified, roughly matching the sector weightings of the benchmark. He never puts more than 2% of assets in any one stock. The careful approach excels in downturns and enabled the fund to return 8.8% annually during the past five years, outdoing 88% of peers.

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