Growth Engine

Rockland Growth Fund is up 19.6% this year, well above the 11.1% for the Russell 2000 Small-cap index. It helps that the fund, which levies a 3% load, still has only $15 million in assets--allowing it to take meaningful positions in small stocks without moving the market. Co-manager Richard Gould figures Rockland (800 497-3933) also gets a leg up via the detailed industry research method his colleague Charles Cruice learned while working for renowned growth-stock investor Foster Friess of Brandywine Fund. Gould says one of Rockland's favorite ways of finding good buys is to ask companies who their most competent rivals are. "You wouldn't think competitors would say anything good about a company," says Gould, "but often they do." Two of Gould's favorite stocks: ONSALE, an online auctioneer. "Compaq may have old computers that it wants to get rid of, and they go to ONSALE.... Compaq's happy because they get double or triple what they would have gotten. ONSALE is happy because they don't take any inventory risk and they make 10%."

Family Golf Centers, a driving-range operator. "They're the largest in the country. They're growing at about 40% a year. The stock is trading at about half that in terms of multiple."

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