Three Large-Cap Stars in the Kiplinger 25


Three Large-Cap Stars in the Kiplinger 25

The S&P returned an impressive 23% over the past year, and three of our favorite big-company funds did as well or better.

After a long period of hibernation, large-company stocks are springing to life again. In the year through May 21, Standard & Poor's 500-stock index vaulted 23%, nearly three times the index's annualized return over the past five years.

Three of the Kiplinger 25 large-company mutual funds managed to reach or clear that tall 23% bar, two of them members of the T. Rowe Price family. T. Rowe Price Equity Income (symbol PRFDX), managed by steady Brian Rogers, returned 25% over the past year. His largest holdings, as of March 31, were General Electric, JP Morgan Chase and AT&T. T. Rowe Price Growth Stock (PRGFX), piloted by the redoubtable Bob Smith, matched the S&P's performance. In the first quarter of this year, Smith quadrupled his fund's stake in CVS Caremark and added to large positions in UBS, AIG and Google.

The other large-cap champ was Dave Williams' Excelsior Value & Restructuring (UMBIX), which returned 25%. Williams' large bet on energy stocks (19% of portfolio holdings) such as ConocoPhillips and Brazil's Petrobras paid off. He also clearly likes industrials (18% of the fund), such as Black & Decker and Southern Copper. Year to date, this fund has returned an impressive 14%, clocking the S&P 500 by more than five percentage points.

The laggard among our large cap funds is Oakmark Select (OAKLX), which trails the S&P index by five percentage points over the past year. Bill Nygren's concentrated 20-stock portfolio has been held back by large positions in limping stocks such as Washington Mutual, Dell and Gap.

See key data for the Kiplinger 25, and read more about our favorite funds.