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Mutual Funds

Double-Digit Delights

An update of the performance of last year's picks.

It's been a good year for the Kiplinger 25. For the 12-month period to March 13, our recommended domestic stock funds returned 11%, on average, and our overseas stock funds gained 17%. That compares with a 9% return for Standard Poor's 500-stock index and a 16% gain for the MSCI EAFE index, which tracks overseas stock markets.

The performance of the bond market was uninspiring. Our five bond-fund picks gained a bit less than 4%, on average, but that was nearly two percentage points more than the gain of the Lehman Brothers Aggregate Bond index.

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Among domestic stock funds, eight delivered double-digit gains. Top performers were Bridgeway Aggressive Investors 2, up 23%, and Legg Mason Opportunity, 19%. Among the laggards were Clipper, which returned just 3%, and American Century Equity Income, up 5%. Of our bond-fund recommendations, Loomis Sayles Bond led the way, with a return just shy of 6%.

Two of our portfolios bested the SP 500. Our long-term portfolio gained a little less than 13%. The medium-term portfolio returned a bit more than 12%. The short-term, income-oriented portfolio gained a bit less than 9%, essentially matching the SP 500.

As always, we conducted a thorough house-cleaning this year of our recommended funds. We dropped five funds solely because they closed to new investors. We dumped others because they failed to measure up. For the details on changes to this list, see Kiplinger 25: What's In, What's Out.