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February, 2005


The statistics are now in for the ten year total returns on thousands of stock mutual funds, through 12/31/04. I have sifted among them for some of the best no load or low load funds available (not closed to new investors), based on risk, year-to-date return (through 2/1/05), expense ratio, five-year record (through 2004), and/or the ten-year returns.

While it is important to remember that past results to do not assure future returns, and there is more that goes into a selection of a fund than compound annual returns alone, the table shows ten funds that I think merit investor consideration, ranked in descending order of long-term performance.

I am personally most impressed with the overall record of the Mairs and Power Growth Fund, which has accomplished superior YTD, five-year, and ten-year returns (a compound annual total return of over 18%) while maintaining a quite reasonable expense ratio and a relatively low risk level.

FundSymbolToll Free No.10-Yr.
Annual Return
Annual Return
Year-to-Date ReturnExpense Ratio %Historical Risk Level
Vanguard Health Care Fund Inv.VGHCX800-662-744720.16%12.95%-1.66%0.23Average to High
Legg Mason Value TrustLMVTX800-822-554418.58%1.88%-3.27%1.69Average to High
Muhlenkamp FundMUHLX800-860-386318.28%15.13%+0.34%1.13Average to High
Weitz Partners Value FundWPVLX800-232-416118.04%7.51%-2.34%1.13Low
Mairs and Power Growth FundMPGFX800-304-740418.03%13.02%-1.56%0.36Low
Royce Low Priced Stock FundRYLPX800-221-426817.63%16.26%-3.72%1.49Average to High
Excelsior Value and RestructuringUMBIX800-881-935817.43%6.55%-2.00%0.99Average to High
Neuberger Berman Genesis TrustNBGEX800-461-189917.10%17.59%-1.08%1.10Low to Very Low
Columbia Small Cap FundSMCEX800-426-375017.00%15.71%-2.02%0.90Low to Average
Ariel Appreciation FundCAAPX800-292-743516.15%12.90%-2.94%1.15Low to Average

(data per American Association of Individual Investors)


Larry is not a professional. Don't take him seriously!

Actually, the investment article provided here is for general information only and should not be considered as professional advice, a solicitation to buy or sell any security, or the Word of God. Investors are encouraged to do their own research while considering their personal goals and circumstances, or consult their own professional financial advisors, before making investment decisions. Neither Larry nor LARVALBUG will be liable for any losses sustained by any visitor to this site.

(Disclosure statement: Larry and Val have holdings in some of the suggested assets but do not "make a market" in any of them and do not derive any direct benefit from recommending them, except perhaps for a bit of smug self-satisfaction.)

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