BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The five best-performing U.S. technology mutual funds are soaring for a second year in a row, reflecting investors' appetite for riskier stocks, including cloud-computing company Salesforce.com (CRM), Chinese Internet-search firm Baidu (BIDU) and movie-streaming provider Netflix (NFLX).The top-five performers have recorded returns of 37% to 58% so far this year. The average tech fund surged 62% last year after imploding 45% in 2008, which kicked off the deepest economic contraction in 80 years. To be sure, performance has been volatile, as the average technology mutual fund, as tracked by Morningstar, is up 20% both this year and over the past three months. Still, that's double the increase of the S&P 500 Index of the largest U.S. companies for 2010. Fund managers and investors say technology-company orders, which have picked up in the past three months, probably will stretch into next year, according to Morningstar technology-funds analyst Courtney Goethals Dobrow. From the start of the year through mid-August, technology stocks had fallen 3%, so the late-in-the-year rebound represents all of the year's gains. The top performers this year have a run-and-gun management style, for the most part, as seen by their turnover rate, which is as high as 833%. A turnover rate of 100% means a fund's roster of stocks has changed completely once in a calendar year. Technology-fund managers enjoy freedom in deciding what to buy, as seen in the makeup of their portfolios, which range from a big bet on the seemingly staid Apple ( AAPL), which revolutionized the world the with iPod, iPhone and iPad, to the upstart Rovi ( ROVI), maker of the popular mobile-game application Angry Birds, and the clearly out-of-place Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG). But most funds feed from the same trough. The most popular picks tend to be Apple, Salesforce.com, Baidu, Netflix, online retailer Amazon ( AMZN), Internet auctioneer eBay ( EBAY), software giant Oracle ( ORCL) and Internet search company Google ( GOOG). Some of the big, and less agile, tech funds are putting in a good showing this year, especially the $1.3 billion Allianz RCM Technology Fund ( RAGTX). It's just out of the top five with a 33% return, coming on the heels of a gain of 57% last year. Fidelity Advisor Technology Fund ( FADTX), with $719 million in assets, is up 26% by riding Apple hard with a gigantic 15% allocation. Apple has gained 52%. In inverse order, here are the five best-performing technology mutual funds this year. Performance data, provided by Morningstar, reflect returns through Dec. 9.
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