business

An Uneventful Trip for Funds in May

Overall, the average diversified equity fund ended the rocky month up by just 1.4% -- matching the S&P 500's performance

By Amey Stone

In May, the market continued in its Shakespearian vein, offering lots of sound and fury signifying not much. Stocks basically did a round trip, falling on signs that the strong economy was triggering inflation and then rising when the economic data started to cool a bit, easing worries that the U.S. is about to go into a period of aggressive Fed tightening. The average diversified equity fund gained 1.4% in May, the same as the S&P 500-stock index, according to data from Standard & Poors. (For complete results of more than 5,000 funds, see BW Online's Interactive Mutual Fund Scoreboard.)

Growth stocks performed a bit better than value stocks in the month, and larger-cap names fared better than small-caps. The former averaged a 1.9% increase, while the latter gained just 0.7%. Mid-cap growth was actually the best-performing style of investing, rising 2.2%.

JAPAN'S FALL.

  The best-performing sector was precious metals, up 7.6%, as these stocks rebounded from sharp losses in April. The sector remains down 16.4% year-to-date. American Century Global Gold Investors (BGEIX ) was a solid performer, gaining 9.5% in May. Another defensive sector, real estate, proved a good place to be -- gaining 6.2% for the month. Security Capital U.S. Real Estate (SUSIX ) rose 8.5%.

Technology funds also performed well, up 5.4% in a rocky month. ProFunds Semiconductor Ultrasector Inv (SMPIX ) was the top-performing fund in May, gaining 15.8%. Amerindo Technology (ATCHX ) was another top performer, with a 10.7% one-month return.

International funds lagged behind U.S. categories in most cases as markets around the world were temporarily rocked by India's elections. Eaton Vance Greater India (ETGIX ) ended the month down 18.4% after recovering from an even steeper drop. The average international stock fund slipped 0.3%, and emerging markets funds fell 1.7%. The worst-performing fund category in May was Japan, which tumbled 3.6% on profit-taking. For the year, that group is up a stunning 52.6%.

BEST BET.

  On the fixed-income side, funds suffered as interest rates rose. The average taxable bond fund fell 0.5%, a bit worse than the Lehman Brothers Aggregate bond index, which was down 0.4%. Municipal bond funds dropped 0.3%, a bit better than the commensurate Lehman index, which lost 0.4%.

Convertible bond funds, which are linked with equity returns, managed to stay in the black, gaining 0.4%. International and long-government bond funds also eked out a 0.1% rise. Aside from those categories, investors' best bet was a low-risk short-term bond fund. On average, that group lost just 0.1% in May.

It might have seemed as if Macbeth's three witches were stirring up the markets in May. But although the caldron bubbled, toil and trouble, at least for fund investors, was kept to a minimum.

The A-List Funds

Fund/ Ticker 5-Yr. Pretax Return
ABN AMRO Mid Cap N CHTTX 14.9
AIM Real Estate A IARAX 15.2
AXP Precious Metals A INPMX 16.2
Aegis Value AVALX 18.2
Al Frank VALUX 21.8
Alpine Realty Income & Growth Y AIGYX 16.7
Alpine US Real Estate Equity Y EUEYX 18.5
Amer Century Glbl Gold Inv BGEIX 18.3
Amer Century Real Estate Inv REACX 13.7
Amer Century Sm Cap Vl Inv ASVIX 17.0
Amer Century Sm Company Inv ASQIX 14.8
Ariel ARGFX 12.8
Armada Small Cap Value I AMRIX 15.6
Artisan Mid Cap ARTMX 13.3
Artisan Small Cap Value ARTVX 15.2
Berwyn BERWX 13.1
Bjurman Barry Micro Cap Growth BMCFX 29.1
BlackRock International Opportunities Inv A BREAX 20.9
Boston Partners Small Cap Value II Invest BPSCX 23.3
Bridgeway Aggressive Investors 1 BRAGX 19.7
Bridgeway Micro Cap Limited BRMCX 20.3
Bridgeway Ultra Small Company BRUSX 31.0
Bridgeway Ultra Small Company Market BRSIX 26.5
Bruce 26.0
Buffalo Small Cap BUFSX 22.7
CGM Focus CGMFX 24.4
CGM Realty CGMRX 20.7
CRM Small Cap Value Instl CRISX 16.3
Calamos Growth A CVGRX 20.1
Cohen & Steers Realty Shares CSRSX 12.9
Cohen & Steers Special Equity CSSPX 16.1
Columbia Acorn Z ACRNX 14.3
Columbia Small Cap Z SMCEX 14.5
Constellation Clover Small Cap Value I TCSVX 16.6
Delafield DEFIX 14.3
Diamond Hill Bank & Financial A BANCX 15.6
Dreyfus Premier Greater China A DPCAX 17.0
Driehaus Emerging Markets Growth DREGX 14.5
Driehaus International Discovery DRIDX 22.5
Eaton Vance Asian Small Companies A EVASX 23.1
Eaton Vance Wldwd Hlth Sciences A ETHSX 18.4
Emerald Select Banking & Finance A HSSAX 14.9
Evergreen Precious Metals A EKWAX 24.3
Evergreen Small Cap Value I ESKIX 12.8
F Russell Real Estate Securities S RRESX 13.3
FBR Small Cap A FBRVX 16.0
FBR Small Cap Financial A FBRSX 20.8
FMC Strategic Value 14.6
FMI Focus FMIOX 14.6
Federated Kaufmann K KAUFX 14.1
Fidelity Canada FICDX 14.0
Fidelity Low Priced Stock FLPSX 16.1
Fidelity Real Estate Investment FRESX 13.5
Fidelity Select Gold FSAGX 16.2
Fidelity Select Medical Systems & Equipment FSMEX 17.1
Fidelity Small Cap Stock FSLCX 13.6
Fifth Third Micro Cap Value Instl MXAIX 16.4
First American Real Estate Securities Y FARCX 14.1
First American Sm Cap Select Y ARSTX 14.2
First American Small Cap Growth Opport Y FIMPX 23.4
First Eagle Global A SGENX 15.3
First Eagle Gold A SGGDX 26.2
First Eagle Overseas A SGOVX 17.2
Franklin Biotechnology Discovery A FBDIX 17.7
Franklin Gold & Precious Metals A FKRCX 17.2
Franklin Microcap Value FRMCX 16.9
Gabelli Gold AAA GOLDX 23.5
Goldman Sachs Growth Opportunities A GGOAX 15.3
Goldman Sachs Small Cap Value A GSSMX 14.3
Harding Loevner Emerging Markets HLEMX 13.3
Harris Insight Small Cap Value N HSVAX 13.5
Heartland Value HRTVX 18.4
Hennessy Cornerstone Growth HFCGX 17.2
Heritage Mid Cap Stock A HMCAX 14.7
Hotchkis & Wiley Mid-Cap Value I HWMIX 18.8
Hotchkis & Wiley Small Cap Value I HWSIX 19.8
ICON Energy ICENX 21.5
IMS Capital Value IMSCX 13.5
ING Precious Metals LEXMX 17.9
ING Russia A LETRX 39.5
INVESCO Gold & Precious Metals Inv FGLDX 14.2
Ivy European Opportunities A IEOAX 29.6
Ivy Global Natural Res A IGNAX 17.6
JPMorgan Mid Cap Value I FLMVX 16.7
Janus Mid Cap Value Inv JMCVX 16.1
Janus Small Cap Value Inv JSCVX 13.0
Jennison Natural Resources A PGNAX 18.2
Laudus Rosenberg US Sm Cap Inv BRSCX 13.3
Lord Abbett Small Cap Value A LRSCX 15.4
MFS International New Discovery A MIDAX 16.0
MTB Small Cap Growth A ARPAX 17.1
MainStay Small Cap Value B MSPBX 13.4
Matthews Asian Growth & Income MACSX 18.8
Matthews China MCHFX 18.1
Meridian Growth MERDX 15.9
Meridian Value MVALX 17.7
Merrill Lynch Global Small Cap C MCGCX 16.2
Merrill Lynch Master Small Cap Value B MBSPX 13.6
Morgan Stanley Health Sciences Trust B HCRBX 13.0
Morgan Stanley Instl Intl Small Cap A MSISX 13.2
Morgan Stanley Instl US Real Estate A MSUSX 12.9
Munder Healthcare B MFHBX 17.4
Munder Micro Cap Equity A MMEAX 16.1
Munder Small Cap Value Y MCVYX 15.1
Mutual European Z MEURX 13.0
NI Numeric Investors Emerging Growth NIMCX 14.5
NI Numeric Investors Small Cap Value NISVX 20.3
Needham Growth NEEGX 15.0
Neuberger Berman Genesis Inv NBGNX 16.1
OCM Gold OCMGX 20.5
Oberweis Micro Cap OBMCX 19.9
One Group Small Cap Value I PSOPX 15.4
Oppenheimer Developing Markets A ODMAX 16.5
Oppenheimer Gold & Special Minerals A OPGSX 16.9
Oppenheimer Real Asset A QRAAX 18.5
PIMCO PEA Renaissance A PQNAX 15.3
PIMCO RCM Biotechnology D DRBNX 23.2
PIMCO RCM Global Healthcare D DGHCX 16.6
Pacific Capital Small Cap Y PSCYX 18.1
Perkins Discovery PDFDX 17.3
Perritt Micro Cap Opportunities PRCGX 20.2
Phoenix-Duff & Phelps Real Estate Sec A PRCGX 15.8
Pioneer Small Cap Value A PIMCX 14.4
RS Contrarian Value RSCOX 14.8
RS Global Natural Resources RSNRX 16.0
RS Partners RSPFX 22.1
Royce Low Priced Stock RYLPX 18.9
Royce Micro-Cap Inv RYOTX 18.3
Royce Opportunity Inv RYPNX 20.3
Royce Pennsylvania Mutual Inv PENNX 14.7
Royce Premier RYPRX 14.5
Royce Select RYSFX 17.3
Royce Special Equity RYSEX 16.0
Royce Total Return Inv RYTRX 12.8
Royce TrustShares Inv RGFAX 16.6
SAFECO Small Cap Value Inv SFSCX 14.2
SSgA Aggressive Equity SSAEX 14.3
STI Classic Small Cap Value Equity L STCEX 13.4
Schroder Capital US Opportunities Inv SCUIX 14.3
Scudder Gold & Precious Metals S SCGDX 25.8
Security Capital US Real Estate SUSIX 13.1
Security Mid Cap Value A SEVAX 16.4
Sentinel Small Company A SAGWX 15.6
Smith Barney Security & Growth A SAFEX 13.7
State Street Research Aurora A SSRAX 18.1
State Street Research Global Resources A SSGRX 25.6
Stratton Monthly Dividend REIT STMDX 13.3
Stratton Small Cap Value STSCX 13.1
Strong Advisor Small Cap Value Z SSMVX 19.8
Strong Mid Cap Disciplined SMCDX 14.6
T Rowe Price Intl Discovery PRIDX 14.0
T Rowe Price Mid-Cap Value TRMCX 13.7
T Rowe Price Real Estate TRREX 14.1
T Rowe Price Small Cap Value PRSVX 16.0
TAMARACK Enterprise S TETSX 14.9
TAMARACK Microcap Value S TMVSX 14.9
TCW Galileo Opportunity N TGONX 15.2
TCW Galileo Value Opportunities I TGVOX 18.2
Third Avenue Real Estate Value TAREX 17.4
Third Avenue Small Cap Value TASCX 13.7
Third Millennium Russia TMRFX 31.5
Tocqueville Gold TGLDX 25.6
Tocqueville Small Cap Value TSCVX 16.8
Touchstone Emerging Growth A TEGAX 16.0
Turner Micro Cap Growth TMCGX 30.0
US Global Accolade Eastern European EUROX 22.2
US Global Inv Global Resources PSPFX 16.5
US Global Inv Gold Shares USERX 17.2
US Global Inv World Prec Minerals UNWPX 15.8
USAA Precious Metals & Minerals USAGX 24.6
Undiscovered Managers Behavioral Vl Instl UBVLX 16.5
Undiscovered Managers REIT Instl URTLX 14.9
Value Line Emerging Opportunities VLEOX 15.2
Van Eck Intl Investors Gold A INIVX 15.9
Van Kampen Global Franchise A VGFAX 14.7
Vanguard Capital Opportunity VHCOX 15.7
Vanguard Energy VGENX 14.1
Vanguard Health Care VGHCX 12.7
Vanguard Precious Metals VGPMX 20.4
Vanguard REIT Index VGSIX 12.9
Wasatch Core Growth WGROX 18.6
Wasatch Micro Cap WMICX 30.2
Wasatch Small Cap Growth WAAEX 17.1
Wasatch Small Cap Value WMCVX 23.9
Wasatch Ultra Growth WAMCX 17.0
Wells Fargo Small Cap Opportunities I NVSOX 14.7
iShares MSCI Austria Index EWO 13.9

Stone is a senior writer at BusinessWeek Online and covers the markets as a Street Wise columnist

Edited by Patricia O'Connell

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