It's been a good year for PIMCO but an off year for many American Funds.
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As 2010 begins winding down, I thought I'd take a look at how the largest mutual funds have done this year. It's been a pretty good year and really kind of quiet when you compare it with the extremes of 2008 and 2009. A little quiet is probably a good thing and I hope more investors will be coaxed out of their shell and back into stocks again.
I'm focusing on this year's returns because it's helpful to understand how they got here and many investors will be sitting down with their 401(k) statements to review the year. But when evaluating a fund's overall merits, keep in mind that the long term is what really matters, along with other fundamentals, such as management and costs.
Here, then is a review of the 15 largest funds along, with their total assets, returns, and relative performance ranking.
PIMCO Total Return
Chalk up another strong year to Bill Gross and company. In bondland this feels like the calm before the storm. Interest rates, credit quality, and inflation are comfortably muted, but there's the potential for inflation to surge and interest rates to spike. If they do, PIMCO Total Return will probably manage to limit the losses, though they are bound to stay within shouting distance of the Barclays Aggregate. Senior bond analyst Eric Jacobson points out that PIMCO Unconstrained Bond
American Funds Growth Fund of America
Some big tech giants, such as Google
Vanguard Total Stock Market
It's been a great year for shareholders in this fund and I'm not referring to performance. Vanguard is giving most of the shareholders in the investor share class a fee cut by lowering the minimum investment for Admiral shares on index funds to $10,000. In this case, the investor's bill is being cut by more than half, from 0.18% to 0.07%. Over time, that edge adds up.
American Funds EuroPacific Growth A
A quiet year with middling performance. This fund's eight managers have had some nifty winners, including Novo Nordisk