Champlain Mid Cap (CIPMX) is a similar story to Artisan Growth -- you have good managers moving up in cap, although here they charge 10 basis points less. The fund has outperformed since its 2008 launch. More important, you get Scott Brayman applying the same moderate-growth strategy that worked so well at Champlain Small Company (CIPSX). Brayman is willing to close funds before assets grow too big, a good trait in a midcap manager.
Tweedy, Browne Global Value II Currency Unhedged (TBCUX) gives you Tweedy's dependable value strategy without the currency hedges. The fund has put up a nice performance so far. Its sibling's history indicates it should lose less in downturns and gain a little less in rallies to produce good overall risk-adjusted performance.
Akre Focus Retail (AKREX) manager Chuck Akre took his time in getting fully invested, so it's worth taking a look again to see where he's making his bets. Two words: consumer cyclical. He has 41% of the stock portfolio in names such as Ross Stores (ROST, news), Lamar Advertising (LAMR, news) and O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY, news). On the one hand, I'd say he's vulnerable to a double dip, but it isn't like he's buying at the top of the food chain. Akre is worried about the threat of inflation and has picked stocks that should be insulated from it.
Evermore Global Value (EVGBX) couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. It has lost 15% over the trailing 12 months, as manager David Marcus is a Europhile who likes financials. That has been ugly, but Marcus is a Mutual Series veteran who has since added greater emphasis on management than you typically see from a Mutual Series manager. There won't always be a cloud over Europe, and the same goes for this fund.
Artisan Global Equity (ARTHX), co-managed by Mark Yockey and Barry Dargan, is off to a decent start thanks in part to an underweighting of U.S. stocks. The fund is clearly being steered to the growth side, as you might expect given both managers' approaches elsewhere. Dargan came over from MFS International Growth (MGRAX).
They've had some of the same big European names that are weighing down other funds, but Hong Kong names like Sands China and AIA Group have helped.
Fairholme Focused Income (FOCIX) has kept us guessing about exactly what it is. Is it a short-term bond fund, a multisector bond fund or an allocation fund? The answer appears to be a conservative-allocation fund, although there's little about it that's conservative. Bruce Berkowitz has 19% of the fund in stocks and 55% in junk bonds, with the rest in cash. It turns out, though, that "focused" is the more important word than "income." The fund has 24% of assets in bonds from MBIA (MBI, news). Berkowitz also has big bets on bonds from Sears (SHLD, news), Emigrant Bancorp and CIT Group (CIT, news). In short, this fund is going to be quirky, but it will probably ultimately prove profitable for shareholders, given Berkowitz's record.
Hartford International Value (HILAX) manager Toby Jayne is playing things fairly close to the vest so far. The fund's largest country weightings are the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Sector weights have also been pretty well in line with others in the category and benchmark. The fund has outperformed so far, and I'll be watching to see if Jayne strikes out on a bold course or if we get more of the same.
Jensen Value (JNVSX) has experienced management, but this fund brings a new wrinkle -- hence its place near the bottom of the list. Longtime quality growth shop Jensen is running this quant value strategy. I want to see more results before buying, even though it has run private accounts in this strategy since 2007. So far, it has modestly outperformed. The strategy here is to maintain focus on return on equity, but with much greater emphasis on valuations. It has produced a wider range of cap exposure than the large-cap-focused Jensen (JENSX). Stay tuned.
Third Avenue Focused Credit Investor (TFCVX) has some promise, but its 1.2% expense ratio takes it down to the bottom of my list. That's a steep hurdle for any bond fund to overcome. In fact, it's the highest expense ratio among no-load high-yield funds with at least $1 billion in assets. So far, it hasn't overcome. The fund portfolio is just under 100 names, but it still is focused relative to many bond funds, as its top weightings are greater than you'd typically see. The fund's top three holdings tell you that this is a fund that goes off the beaten path: Koosharem at 4.78%, Marsico Capital at 3% and EchoStar (SATS, news) at 2.9%. Besides expenses, a departure at the fund gives me pause. Former lead manager Jeff Gary was there for the launch in 2009 but stayed for only a year. Third Avenue has attempted to boost its fixed-income capabilities, and it seems to have hit some bumps.
|19 funds worth a look|
|Fund||Category||Expense ratio||1-year return|
|Dodge & Cox Global Stock (DODWX)||World stock||0.7%||-9.2%|
|Pimco EqS Pathfinder (PTHDX)||World stock||1.3%||-3.9%|
|DoubleLine Total Return Bond (DBLTX)||Intermediate-term bond||0.5%||11.2%|
|American Funds International Growth and Income (IGAAX)||Foreign large blend||0.9%||-6.9%|
|Hotchkis and Wiley High Yield (HWHAX)||High-yield bond||0.9%||3.1%|
|Pimco Global Advantage Strategy Bond (PSAIX)||World bond||0.7%||4.7%|
|Vanguard Explorer Value (VEVFX)||Small blend||0.6%||2.0%|
|Vanguard Total World Stock Index (VTWSX)||World stock||0.4%||-6.0%|
|Vanguard FTSE All-World ex-US Small Cap Index (VFSVX)||Foreign small-cap growth||0.5%||-10.4%|
|Artisan Growth Opportunities (ARTRX)||Large growth||1.5%||4.7%|
|Champlain Mid Cap (CIPMX)||Midcap growth||1.3%||5.3%|
|Tweedy, Browne Global Value II Currency Unhedged (TBCUX)||Foreign large value||1.4%||-2.6%|
|Akre Focus Retail (AKREX)||Midcap growth||1.5%||11.5%|
|Evermore Global Value (EVGBX)||World stock||1.6%||-19.0%|
|Artisan Global Equity (ARTHX)||World stock||1.5%||0.5%|
|Fairholme Focused Income (FOCIX)||Conservative allocation||0.6%||-1.9%|
|Hartford International Value (HILAX)||Foreign large value||1.3%||-8.7%|
|Jensen Value (JNVSX)||Large value||1.3%||0.0%|
|Third Avenue Focused Credit Investor (TFCVX)||High-yield bond||1.2%||-0.8%|
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