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Best Mutual Funds to Invest in 2013

Updated on April 8, 2013

Experienced Mangers, Low Cost and Excellent Performance

To serve you a shortlist of the best mutual funds of 2013 I've selected a handful of large-blend funds with an outstanding performance over the last five years, that are fairly low or low in cost and experienced management teams.

Large blend means they can invest in either stocks or bonds but mostly they are invested in large cap U.S stocks. With some exceptions. The funds are all managed by fundmanagers who have been in the business for quite a few years and more often then not, they are assisted by teams of analysts. Which helps greatly in being able to cover a larger amount of stocks.

The funds are for the most part invested in U.S stocks and compared against the S&P 500 they have all shown significant outperformance over the last few years. Most of these funds also have a strategy or tactic behind their buying/selling that is remarkable in the mutual fund/world. No benchmark huggers.

This article should not be taken as investment advice. What the best choices are for you to invest in is determined by many factors. To name just a few: personal financial situation, appetite for risk, current portfolio and your age. If you have little experience with investing, it can be wise to seek counsel of a licensed investment advisor. Consider this best of list a subjective list for entertainment and informational purposes.

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#1. Ave Maria Rising Dividend (AVEDX)

The Ave Maria Rising Dividend fund is being managed by Richard Platte, Jr. and George P. Schwartz. They are currently mainly invested in large cap stocks but are a large cap blend fund.

Top holdings (april 2013) include Dover Corporation, Bank of New York Mellon, Hasbro, Norfold Southern Corporation and Low's Companies. The fund managers are not afraid to make big bets when they are convinced it is a good one. They are certainly no benchmark huggers. Over the last five years they have attained annualized returns of 8.39%.

Expenses are around 1% and that is average for this category.

#2. BBH Core Select N (BBTEX)

BBH Core Select N has announced that they will at least temporarily close the fund. The managers Tim Hartch and Mike Keller are approaching 3.5 billion under management and view this as the maximum amount of money they can handle.

Their strategy is to target high quality, highly liquid large cap stocks. In doing so they only take a limited number of positions: ~30. Taking over 3.5 billion would mean they would have to abandon their current strategy that is working so well for them, naturally they were not inclined to do so.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and US Bancorp (USB) are currently top holdings (april 2013). They are also noticeably more invested in Europe compared to other funds in the Large Blend category.

Expenses sit around 1% and are about average for the category while their annualized returns over the last five years are 4.21%. Not a bad result during tough economic times.

#3. Columbia Contrarian Core Z (SMGIX)

The Columbia Contrarian Core Z SMGIX is being managed by Guy Pope, leading a small team, and supported by Columbia's fundamental analyst staff. The team looks actively for stocks they think will rally significantly in the next 18 to 24 months.

Their largest holdings as of april 2013 are Johnson & Johnson, Apple Inc, Berkshire Hathaway, Google and Chevron. They are 96% invested in U.S stock and only hold a tiny % in foreign stocks.

Their annualized returns over the past year has been 6.82%. A great performance against the S&P 500's 1.94%.

#4. Mairs & Power Growth Inv (MPGFX)

Another fund that made the best mutual fund 2013 shortlist is the Mairs & Power Growth Inv fund led by Bill Frels. According to Morningstar's analyst David Falkof Mairs & Power excels by investing in what they know (a popular Warren Buffet/Peter Lynch tactic) and close to home.

This allows them to be significantly better informed about the company's farings then the market as a whole and thus they gain an edge. They take this tactic very seriously because two thirds of current assets under management (april 2013) are invested in companies that have their headquarters in Minnesota near the funds office.

Althought their strategy already sets them apart from the crowd their 7.58% annualized 5 year returns are another way they shine. Surely not a return to sneeze at in the US large cap category.

#5. Sequoia (SEQUX)

The Sequoia is managed by Bob Goldfarb and David Poppe who are value investors at heart. They are assisted by a team of 12 dedicated analysts. Usually the fund holds a fairly concentrated portfolio of stocks. Mainly large cap stocks but they occasionally buy into mid or small cap stocks as well.

Sometimes the fund closes temporarily when assets grow too much or too much money flows into the fund. The managers want to be able to make meaningful investments into small and midcap stocks.

Their expense ratio is average around 1%. Annualized yearly returns have been stellar over a five year period at 8.26% against 4.87% by the S&P 500.

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