Actively traded U.S. mutual funds are on track for a record year as 6 out of 10 managers at large caps outperformed in April and the year, according to Merrill Lynch data.
A winning mutual fund is measured by the number of winning stock ideas vs. the number of losing ideas of a given period divided by the total number of stock ideas pursued, according to investment data company Novus.
Large-cap active managers posted a monthly hit rate of 59% in April as the average fund outperformed by 18 basis points. For the year, 60% of fund managers are ahead of their benchmarks, a record high for the first four months of the year.
Fund outperformance was consistent across the Core, Growth and Value management styles in April, though Growth funds performed the best, with a 67% hit rate. Value funds had a 57% hit rate (a measure of how many times it beat the Russell 200) and Core funds performed at a 52% rate.
So far this year, funds have performed above 50% every month and with a record 78% outperforming the Russell 1000 Growth index (an increase from 77% in March).
Meanwhile, 54% of mid-cap funds also outperformed in April, raising their year-to-date hit rate to 55% from 47% in March, thanks mainly to the outperformance of Growth funds.
Small-cap funds were the laggards, posting a 37% hit rate, marking the third consecutive month of below-50% performance. Small-cap Value funds fared the worst in April, with just 21% outperforming.
Core funds were also a drag on performance, according to Merrill Lynch, with just 21% of managers beating the Russell 200 index.