A touch of technology sends portfolios skyward


Among funds with the largest median market capitalizations, growth funds with some investments in the technology sector were winners in the 12- and 24-month periods that ended June 6, Morningstar data show.

Heading the list of the top one-year performers was American Capital Exchange, which counts chipmaker Intel and drugmaker Warner-Lambert among its top technology and health holdings. That fund, which also had the largest median market cap, returned 38 percent over the last 12 months. Runner-up, with a 26.1 percent return, was Ameritor Investment, a fund that has two thirds of its assets in technology stocks. Eastcliff Total Return, with top holdings in Nokia, Cisco Systems and Texas Instruments, was third with a 24.6 percent return.

The best performers in the sector over the past 24 months were led by Ameritor Security Trust, the fund with the lowest median market cap on the list. The large-growth fund, with assets in well-known computer and telecommunications stocks such as Microsoft, MCI WorldCom and Intel, had an average annualized return of 38.5 percent for the two-year period. That was followed by Ameritor Investment at 33.7 percent and American Capital Exchange at 27.7 percent.

The smallest one- and two-year returns in the category were posted by Independence One Equity Plus, at 16.8 percent and 20.7 percent, respectively. One of two large-blend funds on the list, it invests mostly in technology, industrial and financial stocks.

The 10 funds with the smallest median market caps were mostly blend and value products. The top one- and two-year performer, however, was the sole small-growth fund on the list. Frontier Equity, a concentrated and risky fund with investments in micro-cap stocks, took first place with returns of 46.8 percent in the past 12 months and an average annualized return of 30.5 percent in the past 24 months.

Small-value fund Bridgeway Ultra-Small Company was the next-best one-year performer in this category. The fund, with top holdings in retail and services stocks, returned 41.5 percent. That was followed by small-blend fund Bridgeway Ultra-Small Index, the offering with the smallest median market cap. With retail and financial-services stocks heading its portfolio, that fund returned 32.4 percent.

Maxus Aggressive Value, a small-value fund with assets in industrials and durables, posted a return of 8.9 percent, the second-best two-year performance.

Third place went to Bridgeway Ultra-Small Company at 7.1 percent.

Several funds showed losses, however. FBR Small Cap Financial, which invests in banks and other financial firms, showed the lowest one-year return with losses of 7.7 percent. It averages annual losses of 11.3 percent for the two-year period.

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