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A Look at Some of 2011's Biggest Losers

International funds have struggled mightily, but some widely held domestic funds are also coping with big losses.

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The year 2011 has shaped up to be a challenging one for stock investors. While high-quality bonds have notched solid returns, the S&P 500 index is in negative territory for the year to date through Dec. 19. Meanwhile, most actively managed equity funds have lost even more. International stocks, buffeted by the debt crisis in the eurozone, the natural disaster in Japan, and concerns about a slowdown in key emerging markets, are bringing up the rear.

Given that many fund investors are apt to see red when they receive their year-end statements, we decided to take a look at which funds and fund types had been hardest-hit. Nichelike sector and specialty funds, as well as exotic offerings that use leverage, usually jump to the top of any list of best and worst performers. However, these funds aren't widely owned and are therefore usually of limited interest to mainstream investors. Therefore, using our  Premium Fund Screener we sought to examine widely held funds--those with $5 billion in assets or more. Because many stock funds look poised to land in negative territory for the year, we screened for funds whose losses have been particularly severe at 15% or greater during the past year.

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Christine Benz does not own shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.