The fun had to end at some point. After a long bull run, the securities markets were pummeled in February as an Asian market swoon spread across international markets.
As a result, the nervousness and uncertainty in the securities markets triggered a flight to safety in the fixed-income market.
In our list of open-end bond fund leaders and laggards, five U.S. Treasury funds were joined by a U.S. long government bond fund in dominating the roster of top fixed-income performers.
An eyebrow-raiser on the fixed-income winners list was the
Credit Suisse Commodity Return Strategy Fund (CCRSX). In what appears a contradiction of its name, the fund recently reported holdings of 89% cash and equivalents and 11% bonds, which places it in the fixed-income category.
At the opposite end of the performance spectrum, seven loan participation funds dominated the losers' list, perhaps pushed a bit lower by horror stories of the subprime mortgage industry.
Two global income funds -- generally considered riskier than domestic fixed-income investments because of potential political and currency risks -- also appear on the fixed-income laggards list.
Note: Leveraged and "inverse" funds were not included in the leaders and laggards lists, because the proliferation of such funds would otherwise guarantee dominance of the lists to the exclusion of funds that excel or fail because of portfolio performance.
In addition, institutional funds with initial investment minimums of more than $25,000 were excluded.
Below is a list of the leaders and laggards among open-end fixed-income mutual funds as rated by TheStreet.com Ratings.
Widows is a 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.