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


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Wells Fargo Advantage Growth (SGRNX)

Performance: 5.6%, putting it in the top 1% in its large-growth category, with a three-year average annual return of 27%; 15-year average annual return of 9.2%.

Fund Profile: Tom Ognar took over the fund in May 2002 and, since then through the third quarter, it had an 8% annualized return versus the 2.7% average for its peers.

Ognar has wandered from the fund's mandate -- he has more than twice as many mid-caps and small-caps than others in its category, said Morningstar, which adds that "its ideal holding exhibits sustainable growth prospects, a record of solid financial health, trustworthy management, and a stock price that trades at a significant discount to the team's price target."

Assets: $7.2 billion

Top picks: Apple (AAPL), 6.7% of fund, up 20.5%; Whole Foods Market (WFMI), 2.8% of fund, up 34%; Kansas City Southern (KSU), 2.5% of fund, up 34%.

Vanguard Health Care Admiral Fund (VGHAX)

Performance: up 6.9%, placing it in the top 8% of its fund category; three-year average annual return of 13.5%; 15-year average annual return of 12%.

Fund Profile: Vanguard Health Care Admiral is the largest health-care-focused fund, with assets exceeding most of the others in the category combined. It holds stakes in all the largest drug and health-care firms, and the average market cap of the stocks it buys is $27 billion, more than twice the health-care category norm.

Managers Ed Owens and Jean Hynes are value-conscious investors, says Morningstar, and "they spread their portfolio broadly across the sector but tilt toward less-expensive, out-of-favor areas."

Assets: $20.6 billion

Top picks: UnitedHealth Group (HUM), 4.3% of fund, up 34%; Abbott Laboratories (ABT), 3.7% of fund, up 17%; Humana (HUM), 2.3% of fund, up 58%.

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