Spring Forward with These Funds

05/07/2015 9:00 am EST

Focus: FUNDS

We've made some spring additions to our mutual fund model portfolio, including a blue chip growth fund, a global favorite, and a socially conservative investment, explains Cynthia Andrade, contributing editor to MoneyLetter.

Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (FBGRX)

Current manager Sonu Kalra took the helm here in 2009 and has generated a solid record since. For the trailing five years, the fund had an average annual return of 16.8%, putting it in the top 5% of its peer group.

Recently, many large growth funds have struggled to best the overall market, but Kalra has accomplished that through good stock sector positioning and stock picking.

He and his team look for companies with expected above-average earnings growth potential, and sustainable business models. He also looks for events that might prove a business catalyst, such as product cycles, management change, and turnaround situations.

Janus Global Research T (JAWWX)

This fund is analyst-driven, meaning the firm's 30-plus equity analysts choose stocks. They are divided into seven teams, each choosing 15 to 25 stocks by consensus. The stocks with the greatest conviction get the higher weightings within the portfolio.

The team does focus on large-cap stocks (74% of assets) but has a greater exposure to smaller fare than its world stock peers; this largely reflects Janus' strength in mid- and small-cap investing.

The fund, with about 130 holdings, has fairly consistently bested its peers over the past decade. A 10/2% average annual return for the trailing ten years beats 99% of its peers.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index (VFTSX)

This fund's benchmark is the FTSE4Good US Select Index, which contains large- and mid-cap stocks screened on social criteria, including workplace uses, product safety, human rights, and corporate responsibility.

The index provider sorts through about 3,000 companies globally, using more than 100 different criteria. Financials take top billing at 23.6% of assets, followed by technology (21.6%), and healthcare (19.7%).

The fund turned in a couple of dismal calendar year performances in 2007 and 2008. Since then, however, it has stacked up fairly well against the large growth category. In fact, for the trailing 3-year period, an average 18.4% annual return outpaces 97% of its peers.

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