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Matthew A. Winkler

The Year's Top Stock Picker Didn't Follow the News

"We're not in the prediction business, particularly around politics and even around markets."
Looking smart.
Source: Bloomberg

The No. 1 U.S. stock picker of 2016 paid scant professional attention to the biggest event of the year, the presidential campaign that led to the election of Donald Trump. He focused instead on finding small companies with enough underappreciated strengths to prosper no matter who's in the White House or managing economic and interest-rate policy.

He is J. David Wagner, vice president at Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price Group and manager of the T. Rowe Price Small-Cap Value Fund. It returned 30 percent, more than double the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and better than the Russell 2000 Index or the S&P Midcap 400 Index. Among the 156 U.S. non-indexed mutual funds with assets greater than $5 billion -- making them accessible to institutions and individuals alike -- Wagner's fund was No. 1, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.