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10 Best Mutual Funds of 2011 You've Never Heard Of


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Franklin Utilities (FKUTX)

Performance: up 14%, putting it in the top 6% of utility funds; three-year annualized return of 12.5%; 15-year average annual return of 8.2%.

Fund Profile: It is described as "an oasis of calm amid market turmoil" and "old school" by Morningstar, because managers John Kohli and Blair Schmicker focus almost entirely on regulated domestic electric and natural gas utilities company stocks, while other utility funds chase telecommunications and energy companies which may boost returns but add to volatility.

Franklin Utilities benefited from investors' hunt for dividend yields, as utilities stocks tend to pay healthy dividends.

Assets: $3.6 billion

Top picks: Southern Co. (SO), its largest holding at 4.7% of the fund, up 21%; NextEra Energy (NEE), second largest at 4%, up 14.6%; American Electric Power (AEP), 3.8% of fund, up 14.8%.

Fidelity Select Biotechnology (FBIOX)

Performance: up 12.7%; three-year annualized return of 14%; 15-year average annual return of 8.6%.

Fund Profile: Manager Rajiv Kaul emphasizes a mix of mid- and small-cap biotech stocks, which make up about 60% of the fund. There is risk and volatility as some companies often have few or no marketable drugs and government policy changes can affect the health-care sector dramatically.

Assets: $1.2 billion

Top picks: Biogen Idec (BIIB), up 64%; Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN), up 58%; Pharmasset (VRUS), up 487%. Amgen (AMGN) is the largest holding, at 16%.

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