In a gory year for stocks, health care funds have been stars. That's where today's Daily Screen turns its attention.

These funds typically have the leeway to invest in drug makers of all sizes, HMOs, hospitals, medical device makers, or even software shops that help docs cut down on their business's paper chase. But over the past couple of years, the top health care funds have been those that focus on biotech companies, the small high-tech labs that develop new medications.

Over the past year, the

American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index

is up a startling 148%, according to

Baseline

. But it might be a pretty fatal mistake to plan on biotechs holding anything close to that pace. Yes, the mercurial sector is known for these types of performance bursts, but it's also known for long droughts. Consider that the same index posted a cumulative 3.3% loss from January 1993 to January 1996. So far in October, the index is off more than 16%.

As usual, we've sifted the category for the funds that beat their average peer over the past one- and three-year periods, according to

Morningstar

. We came up with five and have ranked them by one-year return below. In addition to these, you might take a look at less biotech-heavy types. One candidate is

(VGHCX) - Get Report

Vanguard Health Care, which has no load but a steep $10,000 minimum for nonretirement accounts; another is

(FSPHX) - Get Report

Fidelity Select Health Care, which benefits from Fido's deep analytical bench but carries a maximum 3% front-end load or sales charge.

We've also poked under the hood of the category's leading funds, listing their cumulative top holdings in a second chart. As you might imagine, the list skews toward biotech and drug shops. Consider top-three holdings

Immunex

(IMNX)

,

MedImmune

(MEDI)

and biotech bellwether

Amgen

(AMGN) - Get Report

.

In a gory year for stocks, healthcare funds have been stars. That's where today's

Daily Screen

turns its attention.

These funds typically have the leeway to invest in drug makers of all sizes, HMOs, hospitals, medical device makers, or even software shops that help docs cut down on their business's paper chase. But over the last couple of years, the top healthcare funds have been those that focus on biotech companies, the small high tech labs that develop new medications.

Over the last year the

American Stock Exchange Biotechnology Index

is up a startling 148%, according to

Baseline

. But it might be a pretty fatal mistake to plan on biotechs holding anything close to that pace. Yes, the mercurial sector is known for these types of performance bursts, but it's also known for long droughts. Consider that the same index posted a cumulative 3.3% loss from January 1993 to January 1996. So far in October the index is off more than 16%.

As usual we've sifted the category for the funds that beat their average peer over both the last one- and three-year periods, according to

Morningstar

. We came up with five and we've ranked them by one-year return below. In addition to these, you might also take a look at less biotech-heavy types. One candidate is

(VGHCX) - Get Report

Vanguard Health Care, which has no-load but a steep $10,000 for nonretirement accounts, and another is

(FSPHX) - Get Report

Fidelity Select Health Care, which benefits from Fido's deep analytical bench, but carries a maximum 3% front-end load or sales charge.

We've also poked under the hood of the category's leading funds, listing their cumulative top holdings in a second chart. As you might imagine, the list skews toward biotech and drug shops. Consider top-three holdings

Immunex, MedImmune

, and biotech bellwether

Amgen

.