A Banner Year for the Kip 25

After a rough start, most of our picks are beating their benchmarks.

We hope you stayed the course with the recommendations in the Kiplinger 25, the list of our favorite no-load mutual funds. In the six months since we published the latest version, the stock market has roared back. Nearly all of our picks among stock, bond and commodity funds have more than matched their respective indexes in 2009, many of them by handsome margins. (The one-year results for all our stock funds remain negative, but the numbers should improve dramatically next month, once the awful performance from mid September through early October 2008 drops out of the calculations.)

Before analyzing the funds in more detail, our first order of business is to replace Vanguard Primecap Core, which has closed to new investors. The good news is that we've found a worthy replacement: Primecap Odyssey Growth, run by the same team that runs Primecap Core.

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THE KIPLINGER 25
FundSymbol2009 Return through September 4
U.S. Stock Funds
Baron Small CapBSCFX19.7%
CGM FocusCGMFX0.2%
Row 5 - Cell 0
Dodge & Cox StockDODGX19.8%
FairholmeFAIRX25.9%
FBR FocusFBRVX23.6%
Fidelity ContrafundFCNTX14.8%
Fidelity Low-Priced StockFLPSX27.7%
FPA CrescentFPACX18.7%
Longleaf PartnersLLPFX35.9%
Primecap Odyssey Growth*POGRX27.3%
Selected American Shares SSLASX18.7%
T. Rowe Price Equity IncomePRFDX14.9%
T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap GrowthRPMGX30.6%
T. Rowe Price Small-Cap ValuePRSVX15.3%
Vanguard Selected ValueVASVX22.6%
Commodity Fund
Pimco CommodityRealRet Strat DPCRDX18.8%
Diversified International/Global Funds
Artio International Equity II AJETAX15.6%
Dodge & Cox International StockDODFX36.0%
Marsico GlobalMGLBX18.3%
T.Rowe Price Emrg Mkts StockPRMSX58.9%
Bond Funds
Dodge & Cox IncomeDODIX12.2%
Harbor Bond InstitutionalHABDX11.0%
Loomis Sayles BondLSBRX25.0%
Fidelity Intermediate Municipal Income^FLTMX7.1%
Vanguard Inflation-Protected SecsVIPSX7.3%
Indexes2009 return
DOW JONES-UBS COMMODITY INDEXRow 33 - Cell 1 5.0%
MERRILL LYNCH US BROAD MKT INDEX‡Row 34 - Cell 1 4.7%
MSCI EAFE INDEXRow 35 - Cell 1 24.7%
RUSSELL 2000 INDEXRow 36 - Cell 1 15.5%
S&P 500-STOCK INDEXRow 37 - Cell 1 14.6%
Through September 4. *Added to the Kiplinger 25 on September 4. ^Income is exempt from federal income taxes. ‡Tracks high-grade U.S. bonds. SOURCE: © 2009 Morningstar Inc.

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Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Andrew Tanzer is an editorial consultant and investment writer. After working as a journalist for 25 years at magazines that included Forbes and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, he served as a senior research analyst and investment writer at a leading New York-based financial advisor. Andrew currently writes for several large hedge and mutual funds, private wealth advisors, and a major bank. He earned a BA in East Asian Studies from Wesleyan University, an MS in Journalism from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, and holds both CFA and CFP® designations.