Pencil January of 2019 in your investing calendar. You may have to wait till then to see a list of equity mutual funds that have achieved positive returns for 10 consecutive years.

Then again, if the First Eagle Overseas Fund ( SGOVX) can somehow advance 29.72% between now and the close of trading on Dec. 31, you won't have to wait that long. Or, if the JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund ( JAMCX) can find a way to add 43.13% to its current value by the rapidly approaching end of the year, it will then be able to claim 10 consecutive years of positive returns. And in the unlikely event that the Matthews Asian Growth & Income Fund ( MACSX) can vault 50.72% between now and the evening of Dec. 31, it too will be able to become a member of the 10-consecutive-year-gainer club.

The three funds, profiled in an accompanying table, are the only open-end equity funds to have stayed in the plus column for each of the past nine calendar years. Considering that the period includes the 2000-02 bear market, their records are notable. But somehow, 10 consecutive years of plus performances sounds a lot more authoritative than nine.

However, now that we are solidly into November, time seems to be running out on any member of the trio becoming a "10."

The First Eagle Overseas Fund holds 10% of its assets in gold-related investments. Its allocation by region is light on Latin America, at 2%, and relatively heavy on Japan, at 30%. The fund's European exposure is 32%, while Asia ex Japan amounts to 16%. Its recent cash holdings amounted to 8% of assets, with another 12% scattered in other miscellaneous investments.

SGOVX has not performed worse than 5% on the plus side over the past nine calendar years, although the string looks virtually certain to end in 2008.

Among SGOVX's biggest stock holdings are Sodexo of France, Pargesa Holding of Switzerland, Shimano of Japan and France's Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY).

The JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund has achieved its remarkable nine-year string of positive years by investing in real estate investment trusts and stocks with market capitalizations between $1 billion and $20 billion at the time of purchase.

JAMCX's top portfolio holdings recently included solid mid caps such as Genuine Parts ( GPC), Williams ( WMB), American Electric Power ( AEP) and PG&E ( PGC).

Matthews Asian Growth & Income fund is geographically well diversified in its target region. Its biggest holdings include Singapore Press Holdings, Taiwan Semiconductor ( TSM) and HSBC Holdings ADR ( CHT).

THREE EQUITY FUNDS WITH SOME HOPE FOR 10 STRAIGHT UP YEARS
NAME
First Eagle Overseas
Fund A
JPMorgan Mid
Cap Value A
Matthews Asian Growth & Income Fd
TICKER
SGOVX
JAMCX
MACSX
TheStreet.com RATINGS GRADE
B
C+
B+
Investment Objective
Non-US Equity
Mid Cap
Non-US Equity
Total Net Assets ($Mil)
7,586.6
4,341.0
1,539.8
Maximum Initial Sales Charge (%)
5.00
5.25
0.00
Minimum Initial Investment ($)
2,500
1,000
2,500
Total Expense Ratio (%)
1.12
1.25
1.15
Year-to-Date Total Return (%)
-22.91
-30.13
-33.65
2007 Total Return (%)
8.39
2.36
21.54
2006 Total Return (%)
22.29
16.73
23.38
2005 Total Return (%)
16.92
8.87
15.76
2004 Total Return (%)
21.83
20.31
21.44
2003 Total Return (%)
41.41
30.07
38.51
2002 Total Return (%)
12.53
2.68
9.01
2001 Total Return (%)
5.35
9.49
14.29
2000 Total Return (%)
5.68
35.28
3.73
1999 Total Return (%)
33.19
13.87
48.88
Needed for Positive 2008 (%) *
29.72
43.13
50.72
* Percentage return needed between Oct. 4 and year-end 2008 to achieve positive full year.
Data as of Oct. 4, 2008.
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings and Bloomberg
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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.