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When Stocks Falter, This Mutual Fund Shines

With a lot of consumer stocks and cash, Symons Value is positioned for a weak economy.

One way of assessing a fund is to see how it does in tough times. By that yardstick, Symons Value Institutional (symbol SAVIX) is a winner. Since its launch in late 2006, the fund has produced its best results, relative to the market, when stocks have struggled. In 2008, when Standard & Poor's 500-stock index plunged 37%, the fund sank 13%. In 2011, when the index rose 2.1%, Symons earned 5.7%. Over the past year, it beat the index by 7.3 percentage points. By contrast, in years when stocks sizzle, the fund has always been near the rear of the pack. And that is fine with manager Colin Symons, who says the key to long-term success is holding down losses in weak markets.

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