There are growth funds with good performance and growth funds with low expenses, so let's look for those that have both.
Cheap Large-Cap Growth Funds
Cheap Tech Funds
High Yield Funds
Over the last week or so the Big Screen has trolled the oceans of funds out there for tech funds and big-cap growth funds that fit this bill, and today we're doing the same in the mid-cap growth category. These funds typically focus on stocks of fast-growing companies with a
market capitalization between about $2 billion and $9 billion.
Tech stocks comprise more than 40% of the average fund in this pack, according to
, and that hurt them in last year's
meltdown. They finished the year down almost 7%, losing more than 19% in the fourth quarter alone. Still, mid-caps have a place in an asset allocator's portfolio, and during the past 10 years, the average mid-cap fund has beaten the
If you're looking for a mid-cap growth fund, you might as well look at its expenses as well as its performance. To get you started, we screened the category for
no-load funds that beat their average peer over the past one- and three-year periods. Then we screened out funds that have an expense ratio higher than the category's 1.56% average, or a steep minimum investment. Here's a top 10 list of the funds we found, ranked by their three-year annualized returns.
As you can see, it's a list of funds that includes quite a few well-known growth managers and growth shops like
Fred Alger Management
At the top you'll find two of the category's more aggressive offerings. Jim Oelschlager and Donna Barton have co-managed the
Pin Oak Aggressive Stock fund since its 1992 inception, and they like their bets big. At the end of the third quarter, the fund held 26 stocks with 90.9% of the fund's assets in the tech sector.
That approach has led to solid returns for the fund, which beats more than 90% of its peers over the past three- and five-year periods. (The fund has a relatively modest 1% expense ratio.) That said, the fund also lost more than 40% in last year's fourth quarter, so this racy fund is probably best for brave long-term investors.
John Montgomery has run the
Bridgeway Aggressive Growth fund since its 1994 inception, and he isn't what you'd call a buy-and-hold investor. He uses four different quantitative models to churn out buy and sell signals on mid-cap stocks of different flavors. The fund's most recent portfolio report to Morningstar dates back to May 31, but the fund's 203% turnover rate at that point means Montgomery essentially turned over the whole portfolio twice in the previous 12 months.
While the fund, which has a 1.25% expense ratio, might be best for a tax-deferred account given its active trading, it has beaten at least 80% of its peers over the past one-, three- and five-year periods.
Another aggressive fund on our list is the
Invesco Dynamics fund, run by co-managers Tim Miller, since 1993, and Thomas Wald, since 1997. At the end of the year, the pair had a 158-stock portfolio, but about 60% of the fund in tech and telecom stocks. The fund, which has a 1.03% expense ratio, has beaten its peers over the past one-, three-, and five-year periods and lost a little more than 7% last year, in line with its peers.
A less aggressive fund you might consider is the
Fidelity Mid Cap Stock fund, which has a low 0.86% expense ratio. David Felman has only run the fund since August 1999, but he has something to crow about: Last year he ratcheted down his tech holdings and boosted his bets on the stronger health care and energy sectors, leading to a 32% gain that beat 99% of its peers and dusted the S&P 500 by more than 40 percentage points.
He follows a somewhat price-conscious style and carries more than 300 stocks in the $7 billion fund. Manager turnover can be high at Fidelity, but the behemoth Boston shop's deep analyst bench might make the fund intriguing.
You might be wondering why a
fund isn't on this list, given the firm's reputation for low costs. In fact, one of the best funds in the category in terms of delivering above-average performance at low prices is the
Vanguard Capital Opportunity. But the fund, which beats about 90% of its peers over the past one-, three- and five-year periods, is closed to new investors and that's what kept it off our list.
If you're curious about what stocks propelled these top 10 funds, look no further. We dumped all of these funds into a pot and sifted a cumulative top 10 holdings. Given the vast number of mid-cap stocks out there, you won't find much consensus, but recognizable tech shops like data-storage firm
are the top three faves.