The Pandemic Year’s Top Stock-Fund Managers

This article was originally published on this site

In late March of last year, as the world started to deal with the pandemic lockdowns, the U.S. stock market had already hit “reset.”

A year later, as investors closed the books for the first quarter of 2021, they are looking back on a market rebound that outdid even the post-financial-crisis recovery for both speed and magnitude.

How did the professional stock pickers at mutual funds do? Overall, no better than an index fund. But the best of them blew away the field—including a spectacular 273% gain for the No. 1 fund, the small-stock-focused (MSSGX).

The group of actively managed U.S. stock funds that The Wall Street Journal tracks (based on Morningstar data) for its quarterly Winners’ Circle survey posted an average gain of 47% for the 12 months ended March 31. While that trailed the S&P 500’s 56% total return for the same period—and fell short of recovering all the losses investors incurred during the selloff early in 2020—the best-performing funds did far, far better.

That’s a testimonial either to the pros’ ability to anticipate the kinds of disruptive change that would benefit the companies they chose to add to their portfolios, or to their ability to tweak their holdings in response to the rapidly changing market environment.