"Hybrid" mutual funds, with a blend of
holdings, might have sounded like safe vehicles for riding out the October stock-market slaughter.
Yet, excluding specialized funds such as those exclusively in
as well as "inverse" offerings, only the three hybrid funds in the accompanying table managed to gain ground last month.
Active portfolio management was responsible for the remarkable achievement. But expertise comes with a price: The
of the three funds stand well above the 1.5% typical of actively managed
One of them didn't just manage to hold its own. The
Comstock Capital Value Fund
vaulted 25.9% during October, leaving the Gabelli-managed fund 52.5% higher for the year.
DRCVX may invest up to half of its total assets in short sales of securities and write covered call and put option contracts. It seems to climb aboard whatever investment vehicle its manager thinks will generate a profit, including currencies and precious metals. The manager blends them with more conventional investments such as
If DRCVX seems to share genetic traits with aggressive hedge funds, so does the
Managers AMG FQ Alternatives Fund
"The fund invests in long and short positions in the global equity, bond and currency markets," according to MGACX documents. "It may use derivative instruments -- including futures, options, swaps and forward contracts -- and direct investments to allocate exposure among asset classes, countries and currencies. The fund typically maintains exposure among at least 10 different countries."
MGACX's spreading of risk helped it avoid the October cascade and instead ring up a profit of 4.65% for the month, leaving it up 11.2% for the year to date.
More conventional in its approach is the
Pacific Financial Tactical Fund
, which invests primarily in other investment funds, including exchange traded funds. It invests internationally and domestically, and in fixed income and equities. It typically holds less than 15% in emerging markets.
PFGTX's recent major holdings included the
iShares S&P MidCap 400 Growth Index ETF
ProFunds Bear Fund
Richard Widows is a senior financial analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, Widows was senior product manager for quantitative analytics at Thomson Financial. After receiving an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University in California, his career included development of investment information systems at data firms, including the Lipper division of Reuters. His international experience includes assignments in the U.K. and East Asia.