The fund managers' discipline has led to impressive performance. By Andrew Tanzer, Senior Associate Editor January 18, 2007 Editor's note: This is part of a continuing series of articles looking at the 20 biggest no-load stock funds. As mutual funds put on weight and graduate into the super-heavyweight class, too often they become sluggish and bloated. Yet Dodge & Cox Stock, a mega-fund, has managed its weight gain gracefully. Why? For one thing, the folks who run Dodge & Cox are a disciplined bunch. Bryan Cameron and Charles Pohl, co-directors of research, explain the rigor that goes into selecting stocks for the portfolio. In-house analysts spend months researching a company before making a purchase recommendation to an investment committee of nine. The average stock holding period is eight years, which Cameron says makes it easier to research companies thoroughly and to manage the portfolio. At last report, Dodge & Cox Stock held 86 stocks, a relatively small number for a $66-billion fund. The managers analyze the combination of holdings from multiple angles. "We try to position the portfolio so that it does well under a variety of economic scenarios," says Pohl. This helps to explain the fund's admirable consistency: Dodge & Cox Stock has beaten the average large-cap value fund 13 years out of the past 14. Over the past ten years, the fund has outpaced the typical large-cap-value fund by more than five percentage points per year, on average. Top holdings include Hewlett Packard, Comcast and McDonald's. The only bad news about this fund is that it's closed to new shareholders. If you're fortunate enough to be a shareholder, we suggest you BUY more shares. Note: the firm's international fund, Dodge & Cox International Stock (DODFX), as well as bond fund Dodge & Cox Income (DODIX) are open to new investors and are members of the Kiplinger 25. Want to learn more? Read an interview with Dodge & Cox veterans John Gunn and Diana Strandberg. FUND FACTS Dodge & Cox Stock (DODGX) Assets: $64.8 billion Manager (year started): team (1965) Returns (vs. S&P 500)* 2006: 18.5% (15.8%) Three years annualized: 15.6% (10.4%) Five years annualized: 12.8% (6.2%) Ten years annualized: 14.2% (8.4%) Expense ratio: 0.52% Portfolio turnover: 12% Initial minimum investment: $2,500 Phone: 800-621-3979 Web site: www.dodgeandcox.com *Returns through Dec. 31 Fund Fact sources: Standard & Poor's, Morningstar View updated data for this fund and compare the performance of the 20 biggest no-load stock funds. Go to A Close Look at the 20 Biggest No-Load Stock Funds.