3. Wells Fargo Advantage Opportunity Fund ( SOPVX)

Summary: The fund lost 6.9% last year, versus its peers' 2.75% decline, but it's got a 19.8% annualized gain over the past three years, which outdoes its peers by three percentage points.

"The fund's overall risk considerations mark is positive," said Cathers, but he ratest its cost factors at "neutral" due to a potentially hefty front end sales load, and expense ratio higher than its peers. It's up 5.5% this year ranking it in the 58th percentile among its peers. Among its top holdings are:

Praxair ( PX)

Company profile: Praxair makes and sells industrial gases worldwide.

Analysts' take: They like that industrial gases are an integral part of many companies business and that Praxair locks in customers to 15- to 20-year contracts, thus helping it control its costs and predict revenue. S&P has a $115 price target on it, which is a 4.5% premium to its current price. It's a small-cap company at $33 billion market value.

Target ( TGT)

Company profile: Target is one of the largest retailers in North America, with about 1,800 stores.

Analysts take: It is in a competitive industry but is expected to see some growth from a recent move into Canada and as its big move to offer food and groceries gains traction. It is also selling off its credit card business, which will lower risk. S&P has a $53 price target on it, which is a 5.5% premium to the current price.

Omnicom Group ( OMC)

Company profile: Omnicom is a holding company for advertising, marketing and communications firms that operates in more than 100 countries. It is small-cap at a $13 billion market value.

Analysts' take: The company has a record of delivering solid results over an extended period through a variety of economic environments and it has weathered the current tough one in fine shape. Since there are few fixed costs, profit margins hold up well.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 9 Stocks Giving Mutual Funds a Breakout Year portfolio on Stockpickr.
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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