The final performance numbers for 2005 are in and it looks like it was a good year for fund marketers. When the counting was done, the average mutual fund topped both the S&P 500 and Legg Mason's Bill Miller.
At the top of the charts were mid-cap funds at the top of the charts. If 2006 is anything like previous years, you should expect mid-cap funds to be popular new offerings among the fund firms that do not yet offer a strong performer in this category.
According to Lipper Inc., the average core, mid-cap equity fund gained 10.7 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, mid-cap growth funds were up 10.4 percent in 2005 and the average mid-cap value fund lagged with a 9.7 percent return.
Across all U.S. stock funds the average gain was 7.2 percent for the year, putting them ahead of the S&P 500 which gained 4.9 percent including dividends, according to Standard & Poor's.
Also beating the index for the fifteenth time in a row was Legg Mason Value Trust portfolio manager Bill Miller. His fund gained 5.32 percent to squeek by the index with some 41 basis points to spare.
Finally, those funds looking abroad saw the best gains for the year. Latin American focused funds gained 53.7 percent and those investing in Japan climbed 34.6 percent.
The top sector funds were those investing in natural resources stocks. On average, they gained 40.1 percent.
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