Ariel Appreciation Fund
Last year, the fund's total return was a loss of 7.4%, as compared to a loss of 2.8% for the S&P multi-cap core funds average. The fund's three-year performance, though, is an average annual return of 24.6% versus its peers' 16.4%.
Ariel has no sales load, and its net current expense ratio of 1.18% is below its peer group's 1.38%. It's off to a good start, gaining 7.5% this year, putting it in the top 9% of funds in its category. A few of the top-rated stocks in Ariel's top holdings follow:
Dell is one of the world's largest manufacturers of PCs, server and storage products and it also provides IT services.
The company has an efficient manufacturing/sales model that creates huge cash flow. That can be used to make acquisitions and enter new fields. S&P has a $19 price target on it, a 15% premium to its current price.
Zimmer is an innovative designer, manufacturer and marketer of orthopedic reconstructive implants, such as artificial knees and hips, dental implants, spinal implants and related surgical products.
Baby boomers are its target market and that demographic is big and growing fast, so this is a long-term growth story. S&P, in a survey of analysts, found nine "buys" five "buy/holds," with 15 "holds," and one "sell." S&P has a $58 price target on it, a 3.2% premium to its current price.
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Aflac is a seller of supplemental health and life insurance. About 80% of its earnings come from Japan and 20% from the U.S.
The irritating Aflac duck is bigger in Japan than here now, as the market there is seeing steady growth due to its huge, older population. S&P found four "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," six "holds," and one "sell." S&P gives it a $48 price target, a mere 1.9% premium to its current price.