NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With major stock market indices pushing higher, the luster of large-cap equities may be wearing off for some.While these market giants proved to be a welcomed safe haven as global macroeconomic headwinds have plagued investor sentiment during the waning months of 2011, those who have opted to stick to this "big and boring" investing strategy in 2012 have sacrificed some potential gains. On a year-to-date basis, the iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund ( IWM) has managed to handedly beat out the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average Index Fund ( DIA), returning over 12.5% year to date compared to less than 9% for DIA .
During the early-year run up, mid-cap stocks have actually led the pack. Investors who bought up shares of the iShares S&P Mid-Cap 400 Index Fund ( IJH) have enjoyed nearly 15% gains. In addition to this upside action, the fund also managed to hold up better in the face of last week's shakeup. Although it suffered a downturn as EU debt fears and China growth concerns dominated headlines, IJH was quick to rebound. It has since pushed higher, locking in new 2012 highs. 7 Cancer Drugs to Know Now Small-cap stocks may seem like an obvious choice during periods of strong market action. However, as we have seen throughout the opening quarter of the year, they are not always the best. In this current market environment, mid-caps provide the best mixture of upside potential and safety. Investors considering a foray into risk should have a fund like IJH on the radar when planning their approach. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.