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Where the Top Mutual Funds Are Investing in 2011

The best-performing mutual funds of 2010, determined by Bloomberg Rankings, pursued a lively assortment of investment strategies. The 18 winning funds' specialties range from precious metals and U.S. real estate to emerging market small-cap plays, global high-yield bonds, and preferred securities. A doubly leveraged silver exchange-traded fund beat all of the actively traded funds. Small-cap stocks were top performers in regional and international fund holdings. Global bond returns lagged those in purely U.S. aggregrations.

That was last year. What about now? To find out what strategic stances helped 2010's top mutual funds outperform their peers—and how many managers have changed or tweaked their winning strategies early in the new year— interviewed more than a dozen fund managers in search of timely insights and picks.

To find the top mutual funds of 2010, Bloomberg Rankings began with broad categories—global bonds, U.S. bonds, U.S. equities, global equities, and emerging markets—and then drilled down to categories such as regional funds, international funds, large-, mid-, and small-cap funds, and sectors with both higher returns than the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and a sizable pool of funds to choose among. Sectors with reasonable returns but only a few eligible funds were excluded. Municipal bond funds, despite having lower returns, were included because they're of special interest to high-net-worth individuals. Funds were ranked by total return for the calendar year. See the following slides to find out how these funds excelled last year—and what they're doing differently this year.
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