BOSTON (TheStreet) -- This year is the moment of truth for mutual fund managers. As the economy slows and stocks fall, managers' strategies are laid bare, and those who can't make money for investors face the firing squad.
The Legg Mason Value Trust, which beat the S&P 500 Index for a record 15 years under Bill Miller, has slumped 10% this year. Ken Heebner's CGM Focus Fund, which used to gain more in one quarter than most funds did in a year, has dropped twice as much as the Value Trust. Even Fidelity's Contrafund has declined 1.9%. The Boston mutual fund firm's Harry Lange, manager of the Magellan Fund, was replaced this week because of poor performance.
Brian Lazorishak of the Chase Mid-Cap Growth Fund (CHAMX) is earning his keep. The mutual fund is in the top 2% of its category in terms of performance this year with a return of 6% and the top 1% over the past 12 months with a 27% gain, as tracked by Morningstar. The S&P 500 Index is down 4% this year and up 8% over the past 12 months.
Lazorishak, the lead manager of the fund since 2002, said in an interview that although his best successes have been in consumer companies, Chase Mid-Cap Growth's management doesn't use a sector-focused approach in selecting stocks. Rather, it performs a series of evaluation screens to trim the field down to 600 or so prospects and then applies another test based on fundamentals. Then it reviews each of the finalists for the winners."We look for positive earnings revisions and good trends for earnings and stock prices. We're not picking fallen angels here," Lazorishak told TheStreet. "The mid-cap space has top performers, but they're not household names. There are companies out there that are doing quite well." The fund is an offering from Chase Investment Counsel of Charlottesville, Va. Here is a synopsis of seven top-performing stocks from the fund's portfolio:
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV