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Concentrated Funds Beating the Benchmarks


A holding is Pool (POOL), which distributes chemicals and supplies that are used to maintain pools. As the largest player in the field, Pool can buy in bulk and undercut competitors. While new construction of pools collapsed during the financial crisis, sales of supplies remained fairly steady. "If you own a pool, you need chlorine and conditioner every week," says Christensen.

The fund also owns Computer Programs and Systems (CPSI), which supplies information technology for rural and community hospitals. Demand is climbing because the Obama administration is requiring health care providers to install electronic records.

Invesco Endeavor seeks solid companies selling at big discounts. Many holdings are in industries that have fallen out of favor. The managers search widely for bargains, taking both growth and value stocks. Most often the approach has succeeded. During the past five years, the fund returned 13.4% annually, outdoing 96% of its peers in the mid blend category.

A holding is Ultra Petroleum (UPL), a producer of natural gas. Because of the success of new hydraulic fracturing techniques, the market has been flooded with supplies, and the price of gas has sunk. That has hurt the shares of gas producers. But Invesco portfolio manager Mark Uptigrove argues that Ultra Petroleum will thrive as demand grows for clean-burning gas.

The company is one of the lowest-cost producers because its reserves in Pennsylvania are in relatively shallow fields that are easy to tap. "There is a tremendous value in being a low-cost producer in a commodity business," says Uptigrove.

Another holding is Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTSH), which provides information technology consulting and outsourcing. Revenue has been growing, but the stock has been held back because of concerns about immigration reform, says Uptigrove.

The company's employees include foreign experts who come to the U.S. with temporary visas. Some proposed laws would curtail visas, but Uptigrove argues that the company can adjust to any changes that Congress is likely to make.

A promising new fund is GoodHaven (GOODX), which holds 23 stocks. Before establishing the fund in 2011, portfolio managers Larry Pitkowsky and Keith Trauner worked at Fairholme (FAIRX), a concentrated fund that outdid 99% of its peers during the past decade.

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