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Blackstein-run fund leaves struggling S&P in dust

swon@globeandmail.com

What are we looking for?

Index beaters among U.S. stock funds this year. The benchmark S&P 500 index is slightly in the red after almost eight months.

The search

We screened U.S. equity funds for the top 15 that have outpaced the S&P 500 this year until Aug. 25. Segregated, pooled, U.S. dollar, and duplicate funds were excluded.

What did we find?

Two funds with vastly different strategies emerge with double-digit gains as the index has struggled. One manager shops for growth companies, while the other is a bargain-hunting value investor. What they have in common is that they hold high-conviction portfolios.

Dynamic Power American Growth stood at the top of the heap with a 12.3-per-cent return. The fund, which is run by Noah Blackstein at Dynamic Funds, typically holds 20 to 25 growth companies.

"I think we have one of the lower correlations to the overall market," he said. "This is a stock pickers' fund - not a market fund. People who want to own the U.S. market should just buy the index."

His fund held nearly 8 per cent cash at the end of July. Some of the gainers have been fast-growing, profitable next-generation technology companies focused on areas such as wireless and cloud computing, he said. "Growth is scarce so companies that have it are rewarded."

Winners have include names such as Apple Inc., VMware Inc. and also Netflix Inc., an Internet movie subscription service. Netflix has been a big beneficiary of the collapse of the Blockbuster Inc. video rental chain, Mr. Blackstein said.

IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity, which is run by Larry Sarbit of Sarbit Advisory Services Inc., gained 10.8 per cent. The fund was formed last year from the merger of Sarbit U.S. Equity Trust, IA Clarington U.S. Dividend and IA Clarington Navellier U.S. All Cap Fund.

The new fund, which holds 15 to 25 names, had 34 per cent in cash at the end of July. Obviously, the cash block has helped keep the fund from sliding into negative territory.

***

Who is beating the S&P 500 among U.S. equity funds?
As of July 31, 2010
Fund name MER Net Assets ($ mil.) YTD Rtrn (Aug. 25; %) YTD(%) 2009(%) 2008(%) 2007(%) 2006(%) 2005(%) 2004 (%)
Dynamic Power American Growth2.41279.812.39.313.4-44.130.0-1.521.514.5
IA Clarington Sarbit U.S. Equity2.8595.010.814.9N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Dynamic Power Amer Currency Neutral2.860.58.49.126.7-57.247.4-2.5N/AN/A
Frk US Rising Dividends-F1.511.42.41.60.0-10.2-18.613.8-3.01.7
Investors U.S. Opportunities-C2.87157.31.62.26.9-21.0-16.815.7-2.75.5
Northwest U.S. Equity2.6310.91.03.933.6-33.5-26.914.6-0.12.7
Scotia U.S. Value2.5116.10.92.68.5-24.4-11.28.70.5-0.1
RBC O'Shaughnessy U.S. Value1.47802.40.42.624.8-44.0-5.817.01.215.5
Renaissance U.S. Equity Value2.6218.3-0.31.20.6-30.4-16.816.6-2.51.0
Investors U.S. Dividend Growth C2.8667.4-0.42.16.3-13.1N/AN/AN/AN/A
Claymore U.S. Fund Index ETF non-hedged0.75.8-0.60.9N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Integra U.S. Value Growth1.4149.8-0.8-0.68.8-23.3-7.411.65.59.3
North Growth U.S. Equity1.2219.2-0.90.228.2-26.7-10.912.76.53.5
Altamira U.S. Index0.6212.0-1.1-0.44.7-17.9-8.717.7-2.8-4.0
Trimark U.S. Companies2.85112.4-1.4-0.95.9-17.0-11.67.9-4.6-4.3
S&P 500 Composite ($Cdn) -3.8 -2.9 5.5 -23.8 -12.2 13.6 -0.2 1.5
Source: Globeinvestor.com

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