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U.S. equity funds that are on a roll


U.S. stock funds with momentum this year. The S&P 500 has been in a rallying mood lately. Some market watchers, including Jack Ablin, chief investment officer of Harris Private Bank in Chicago, have turned upbeat on the U.S. market. "My outlook is bullish for the next 12 to 18 months," he says. And he likes sectors such as technology, health care and basic materials.


We asked Victor Tan, analyst at the fund unit of Globe Investor, to screen for the 15 best-performing and worst-performing U.S. equity funds this year to Thursday. We also look at the annual returns. U.S. dollar, duplicated, segregated and pooled funds were excluded.


Among the 15 best performers, three are low-fee index funds or exchange-traded funds. But many funds have not benefited from the rebounding U.S. market.

The top performer this year is the TD Nasdaq index fund, which has posted a 30-per-cent gain. It has outshone the CIBC Nasdaq index fund, which is up 16.2 per cent. Both funds track the Nasdaq 100 index, the largest non-financial companies from that benchmark.

The TD index fund has outperformed the CIBC fund partly because it charges lower fees and is aided by being hedged to Canadian dollars as the loonie has risen relative to the U.S. dollar. The CIBC fund is not hedged.

Acker Finley Select US Value 50, which posted a 20.3-per-cent return, is the best-performing actively managed fund. The fund has been helped by "large-cap technology stocks like Microsoft, Oracle and Cisco," Mr. Finley says. "Of late, it has been drug companies like Pfizer and Merck, and a sprinkling of consumer discretionary stocks like Lowes."

Mr. Finley, who uses quantitative stock-screening criteria for his value-oriented fund, has a target of 1,100 this year for the S&P 500 index. That benchmark yesterday closed at 987.48.

Among funds at the bottom, it looks like IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity is the second-worst performer, with a loss of 10.5 per cent.

However, the story is more complicated. The fund was formed in early June from the mergers of Sarbit US Equity Trust and IA Clarington U.S. Dividend Fund into IA Clarington Navellier U.S. All Cap fund. The merged funds were renamed IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity, and the return clock was reset on June 8.

The 10.5-per-cent loss reflects performance of the old IA Clarington Navellier U.S. All Cap and newly named IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity fund. The newly renamed fund, which has more than 80 per cent in cash, is down only 0.58 per cent from June 8 to June 30. Fund mergers can wash away bad memories of red ink.

Assets ($-mil)LatestYTD %YTD %Calendar year % returns
Fund name June 30MERJuly 30June 3020082007200620052004200320022001
Best US Equity Funds YTD July 30, 2009
TD NASDAQ Index-I59.80.9630.020.2-
Acker Finley Select US Value 50-A*22.81.8020.311.5-54.5-16.610.113.913.9
Criterion US Buyback CH-H2.317.39.2-37.5
Frk US Core Equity-A1.02.5116.915.1-31.9
Investors U.S. Large Cap Growth-C155.12.8516.814.9-32.9-
CIBC Nasdaq Index40.61.1716.214.5-
North Growth U.S. Equity186.91.2014.512.0-26.7-10.912.76.53.525.5-2.012.9
TD US Equity Advantg Curr Neutral-I2.12.4214.27.0-42.15.1
Claymore US Fundamental Index ETF50.50.6512.53.1-42.6-2.9
Northwest U.S. Equity10.02.8911.910.0-33.5-26.914.6-
United US Equity Growth Pool-W45.20.2211.79.5-26.4-
Mavrix North American Growth5.22.9211.28.9-
RBC U.S Mid-Cap Eq Currency Neutral7.02.0610.62.5-46.08.5
CI Value Trust Corporate Class283.62.5810.47.8-46.6-
Mackenzie Univ US Gwt Ldrs(Hg)Cl-A22.92.7210.24.6-38.018.7
Worst US Equity Funds YTD July 30, 2009
First Trust Dow 10 Strategy Trust1.64.52-11.9-13.9-25.1-16.825.8-9.5-7.02.9
IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity89.62.87-10.5-11.0
Quadrus Eaton Vance US Val Class29.72.71-10.2-9.2-22.1
Scotia U.S. Growth30.92.57-8.4-7.2-27.1-
Hartford U.S. Dividend Growth D2.00-7.3-6.1-16.8-6.3
IG Goldman Sachs U.S. Equity-C210.93.12-7.3-6.8-26.2-
TD Dow Jones Average Index41.30.84-7.0-8.2-16.0-8.917.4-2.1-3.63.7-16.80.3
Renaissance US Equity Value22.02.62-6.9-7.1-30.4-16.816.6-
Standard Life US Dividend Growth-A12.22.44-6.7-5.0-16.7
Frk US Rising Dividends-F1.31.51-6.5-5.8-10.2-18.613.8-3.01.7-1.8-25.3-4.3
Manulife Mawer U.S. Equity Fund88.0-6.5-5.8
Investors U.S. Large Cap Value-C1696.62.85-6.3-6.2-20.3-13.619.30.94.0-4.1-10.0-0.8
PH&N U.S. Dividend Income-D43.81.23-6.2-6.7-18.3-16.011.0-
Altamira US Index10.21.14-6.0-6.9-17.9-8.717.7-2.8-4.03.7-17.0-1.7
United US Equity Value Pool-W316.10.22-5.6-6.8-27.0-17.315.7-
NASDAQ Composite25.816.4-
NASDAQ Composite ($ Cdn)10.5-26.3-6.99.5-
S&P 500 Composite9.21.8-38.53.513.
S&P 500 Composite ($ Cdn)-3.4-23.8-12.213.6-
*Fund is for accredited investors and requires a $150,000-minimum investment.
Source: Globe Investor

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