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The Daily Screen: The Best Global Funds

The key for the winners was to root for small-caps.

No matter where you've invested this year, it has paid to think small -- small-cap, that is.

That's been the story in the global or world fund category, the focus of today's Daily Screen. These funds invest in both U.S. and foreign stocks, and it's been a tough year all around. The

S&P 500

and every single foreign stock fund category is under water, according to

Morningstar

. So, it's no surprise that the average global fund is down more than 8% since Jan. 1.

Over the last year global funds have used their foreign exposure to their advantage, beating the S&P 500, but over the longer term the money they've sent overseas has held them back. Global funds trail the S&P 500 by a wide margin over the last five- and 10-year periods.

But some have ridden a sizable stake in small-caps to outsize returns over the last year. When we screened the category for global funds that beat their average peer over the last one- and three-year periods, we found a bunch of funds with sizable small-cap stakes -- small- and mid-caps have generally outperformed big-caps at home and abroad. Here's a list of the top 10 global funds ranked by their one-year return.

This pack of funds put about 40 cents of every dollar in U.S. stocks -- about the same as their average peer. Where they stand out is their taste for small- and mid-caps. The average global fund primarily invests in big-caps, while these 10 funds, on average, had 71% of their money in small- and mid-cap stocks.

There were, however, funds on the list that focus primarily on big-caps, including the two broker-sold funds from

AIM Funds

-- AIM Global Infrastructure and AIM Global Aggressive Growth -- in addition to broker-sold Oppenheimer Global and no-load Atlas Global Growth.

As usual, we've combined the 10 leading funds' portfolios and sorted them for a collective top 10. Most of the names here involve tech or telcos, led by software shop

TST Recommends

Cadence Design Systems

(CDN)

, chipmaker

National Semiconductor

and wireless giant

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Report

. But given these funds' broad palette, there isn't overwhelming consensus, where all would own a stock like

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Report

.

The networking titan's shares are owned by the same number of these funds that hold shares of automaker

Porsche

.