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Kip 25

How the Kiplinger 25 Are Handling the Market Turbulence

Some of our favorites have taken a beating over the past couple of weeks. Others are little affected.

These are testing times for fund managers. From a market high on July 19, Standard & Poor's 500-stock index had slumped 7.3% (including dividends) by the close on August 3. Volatility spiked. The small-company Russell 2000 index surrendered nearly 11% during the same time span. How fared the stock funds in the Kiplinger 25?

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The results were mixed. It's little surprise that Merger (MERFX), which doesn't correlate closely to stock market performance, held its value best, shedding less than 2% during the turbulent 15-day timeframe. Next best was Ken Heebner's CGM Focus (CGMFX), which fell less than 3% and was up a staggering 29% year to date. Heebner dumped his investment-bank stocks before the group started to roll over in late spring and, if his March 31 portfolio is anything to go by, is benefiting from a large position in foreign and energy and industrial-material stocks.

Bill Miller's Legg Mason Opportunity Primary (LMOPX) was enjoying an outstanding year until the market plunge clocked his fund more than 11%. But at least Miller's fund has still returned 5% for the year, three percentage points ahead of the S&P index.

Muhlenkamp (MUHLX) and Bill Nygren's Oakmark Select (OAKLX), both value-oriented funds, fell more than 10% during the commotion and have lost money for investors this year. Ill-timed holdings in homebuilders and thrifts -- both have large investments in Washington Mutual -- tarred both funds. Ron Muhlenkamp must wonder what he was thinking when he made Countrywide Financial, a leading mortgage lender, a top-five position in his portfolio. Countrywide has plummeted 41% this year and homebuilder Toll Brothers, another large Muhlenkamp position, lost a third of its value.

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T. Rowe Price Growth Stock (PRGFX) and Vanguard Primecap Core (VPCCX) held up relatively well and have handily beaten the S&P index this year: large-company growth appears to be besting value in general this year. Growth Stock has shown some adroit stock selection this year, with large positions in Schlumberger, CVS Caremark and Accenture, all big gainers.

In the small-company camp, Champlain Small Company Advisor (CIPSX) continues to shine. It fell 5%, less than half the Russell 2000 decline, and was up 7% for the year, beating the index by an impressive 11 percentage points.

(Visit the Kiplinger 25 Center to learn more about our favorite funds.)

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