Best Mutual Funds 2015:Q3 Performance Report
T he best-performing mutual funds in the past three months have been adding top-rate property REITs. The end-of-summer sell-off rolled into September. The market volatility continued its roller-coaster ride as the Nasdaq shed 3.3% and the S&P 500 shaved off 2.6%.
Uncertain whether the recent sell-off was the start of something bigger or just a healthy correction, leading mutual fund managers have shifted their buying to defensive stocks.
The sole mutual fund category to clock a gain in the recent correction is real estate. The sector rose 2.2% in the back-to-school month and 1.3% for the third quarter. Recent buys includeCoreSite Realty ( COR ),AvalonBay Communities ( AVB ),Extra Space Storage ( EXR ),Mid-America Apartment Communities ( MAA ) andEssex Property Trust ( ESS ) in the funds' latest reporting periods.
Beverage kingpinsConstellation Brands (STZ) andMonster Beverage (MNST) remained on the buy lists of top performing mutual funds . As of Tuesday, IBD's Beverage-Non-Alcoholic group ranked No. 1 among 197 industries.
A handful of computer software and tech-services firms, such asEpam Systems (EPAM),SS&C Technologies (SSNC),Salesforce.com (CRM) andRed Hat (RHT), were favorite picks among top funds.
The nation's leading funds have been loading up on Epam Systems, investing an estimated $4.1 million. The $2.4 billion Oak RidgeSmall Cap Growth A Fund stepped up its stake in the firm as of its latest reporting period.
The Newtown, Pa.-based Epam provides software engineering solutions and other IT services to clients worldwide.
The stock has been a strong performer, up more than 60% thus far this year. It broke above its buy point of 75.83 for a second-stage cup-with-handle base on Monday.
Epam has grown earnings 29%, 30% and 21% the past three quarters. Sales growth was also solidly in the double digits. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters see earnings rising 19% this year.
Some top-performing funds sold utility stocks, includingEdison International (EIX), Great Plains Energy (GXP),Westar Energy (WR) andUIL Holdings (UIL), in their latest reporting periods.
Top funds have also taken profits on insurance agenciesAssurant (AIZ) andHartford Financial Services Group (HIG) as they consolidated.