In this holiday week, when it is better to give than to receive, we are looking at funds that invest in the stocks and bonds of companies that have the holiday spirit of giving back to our world all year.
These funds have a stated objective of investing with an environmentally friendly, religiously responsible or socially responsible focus.
With these funds, investors have the opportunity to make a return on their money without sending their moral compasses spinning out of control. For the five trading days ended Thursday, Dec. 21, the 57 funds we track in this investment category averaged a total return loss of 0.62%.
At the top of the best is
Professionally Managed Portfolio 21, which is managed by Tony Tursich of Progressive Investment Management Co. The fund looks for companies with ecologically superior products and renewable energy sources.
Taking shareholder activism to the next level, the fund's Web site,
Portfolio21.com, lists companies the fund once held, explaining why each no longer qualifies as a Portfolio 21 company.
Two recent additions to the fund are Deutsche Post, a German transportation logistics company, and
Matsushita Electric Industrial
, a.k.a. Panasonic. Notable U.S. companies include
Next on the list is the
New Alternatives fund, which seeks to invest at least 25% of assets in alternative energy and other sustainable environment companies. Two of its top holdings,
Gamesa Corporacion Technologica
, generate electricity with wind farms. Other holdings, such as
, recycle metals, produce ethyl alcohol, and clean wastewater.
The laggards this week include the
Azzad Ethical Mid Cap Fund, which gave back 2.09%.
are four of its largest holdings.
Two highly rated funds had an off week, each falling 1.44%.
Ave Maria Catholic Values Fund, managed by the Schwartz Investment Counsel, picks companies that follow the core pro-family and pro-life teachings of the Catholic Church. The top holdings include
Dollar Tree Stores
The second fund,
Amana Income Fund, currently rated A+ for risk-adjusted performance through the end of November, uses strict Islamic principles to select companies. Not surprisingly, oil & gas companies make up 9.25% of the fund, with names such as
. Transportation accounts for 7.67% of the fund, with holdings of
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Canadian Pacific Railway
In the end, responsible investing is all about providing the financial security to support the loved ones we value so highly. However you choose to pick the funds for your investment portfolio, I wish you success this holiday season.
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.