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Hot Canadian stock funds? Small is beautiful

swon@globeandmail.com

WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

Hot Canadian stock funds in 2007. Despite the lifting of foreign content limits and hoopla about diversifying globally, most Canadians still have most of their cash tied up in domestic funds.

TODAY'S SEARCH

We take a look at the year-to-date returns (until Dec. 28) for all Canadian stock funds - from large and small-capitalization equity to balanced funds investing in stocks and bonds. We exclude funds with less than $50-million in assets.

SO WHAT DID WE TURN UP?

Small was indeed beautiful.

Most of the top performers were small- to mid-cap funds, including the "focused" version that can invest up to half of its assets in foreign stocks.

Sprott Growth Fund run by Peter Hodson rose to the top of the heap, with a 33.2-per-cent return.

Sprott Growth was trailed by Acuity Clean Environment Equity and Dynamic Power Canadian Growth Class, with returns of 28.9 per cent and 25.4 per cent, respectively. A search on Globefund indicated the holdings of this trio included high-flying Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. Shares of the Calgary-based company soared 228.56 per cent this year.

IA Clarington Canadian Leaders Fund run by Pierre Bernard was the top large-cap fund in our search, with an 18.1-per-cent return. With $56-million in assets, this small fund was likely more nimble than its Canadian equity peer group.

Sceptre Equity Growth's O series racked up a 16.7-per-cent return, while its A series came in with 14.9 per cent. Its double-digit return belongs to both Alan Jacobs who jumped ship midyear to run money at Sprott Asset Management Inc., and its new co-managers Matthew Baillie and Tim Hylton.

Dynamic Power Balanced run by Rohit Sehgal (also manager of Dynamic Power Canadian Growth Class) and Michael McHugh rang up a 14.5-per-cent return. It was the only balanced fund that made it into our search.

And, yes, the Sceptre and Dynamic balanced funds had Petrobank as a top holding.

YTD % Returns (preliminary) in Canadian asset classes
YTD
% rtnNet assets% rtn% rtn% rtn% rtn
Fund nameDec. 28Asset class(000s)2006200520042003MER
Sprott Growth33.2Canadian Focused Sml/Mid Cap Eq292,754-----
Acuity Clean Environment Equity28.9Canadian Focused Sml/Mid Cap Eq117,4177.716.211.435.92.85
Dynamic Power Cdn. Gwth Class25.4Canadian Focused Sml/Mid Cap Eq73,39522.827.216.934.73.07
Dynamic Power Cdn. Growth24.7Canadian Focused Sml/Mid Cap Eq1,638,47925.628.416.735.63.09
BMO Special Equity23.2Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity399,55020.423.020.919.62.39
Norrep Fund19.4Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity124,47425.732.425.043.92.49
Northwest Specialty Equity18.6Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity255,27711.024.419.751.32.62
Dynamic FocusPlus Sml Business18.1Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity76,23617.924.924.250.62.68
IA Clarington Canadian Leaders18.1Canadian Equity56,04317.212.312.022.52.39
Sceptre Equity Growth - O16.7Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity81,70140.521.327.068.0-
Norrep II Class-A16.6Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity237,44818.633.923.545.8-
Altamira Special Growth16.4Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity111,21617.51.711.042.81.92
AGF Cdn Small Cap15.7Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity350,91228.923.511.725.12.73
Renaissance Millennium Next Gen15.6Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity153,67713.218.921.818.42.67
Mawer New Canada15.6Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity189,48015.318.029.526.11.50
Desjardins Environment15.3Canadian Equity119,86617.030.611.822.22.35
London Life Ethics (GWLIM)15.0Canadian Equity64,8779.423.411.724.43.02
Sceptre Equity Growth - A14.9Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity680,50338.719.925.666.71.58
Investors Canadian Small-Cap-A14.9Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity600,2512.316.911.72.71
Dynamic Power Balanced14.5Canadian Neutral Balanced556,90814.918.310.721.02.64
United-Cdn Equity Gwth Pool Cl W14.3Canadian Focused Equity139,50813.525.116.626.50.20
Fidelity Canadian Large Cap-B14.1Canadian Equity158,6389.429.012.522.82.24
GGOF Enterprise Mutual13.9Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity152,87214.016.27.018.02.75
Fidelity Canadian Large Cap-A13.8Canadian Equity57,9629.128.712.522.82.52
Lakeview Disp Leadrshp Cdn Eq-A13.4Canadian Focused Equity127,0044.621.52.08
Manulife Canadian Core Fund13.2Canadian Equity261,23515.025.216.921.32.48
Fidelity Canadian Growth Co.13.1Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity1,273,3568.513.717.224.02.22
Fidelity Cdn Disciplined Equity-B13.0Canadian Equity1,048,86015.425.411.126.52.23
Fidelity True North-B12.9Canadian Equity1,992,64717.623.614.520.72.20
National Bank/Fid True North12.9Canadian Equity167,27117.623.614.520.82.21
Canada Life Flex Cdn Equity (Lake)12.9Canadian Equity289,39215.428.510.617.02.76

Notes:

- Preliminary YTD return for all Canadian Small or Mid Cap Equity, Canadian Focused Small/Mid Cap Equity, Canadian Equity, Canadian

Focused Equity, Canadian Equity Balanced, Canadian Fixed Income Balanced, Canadian Neutral Balanced funds

- With assets over $50-million

SOURCE: GLOBEFUND

© 2007 The Globe and Mail. All rights reserved.

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