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Tracking the Mega-Funds

July 07, 1998

The nation's biggest mutual funds are demonstrating again how they earned that status: The majority of them topped the average general stock fund's gain in the first half of 1998. Data from fund tracker Lipper Analytical show that 16 of the 25 largest funds topped the 11.8% gain of the average fund in the half. Most also beat the average in the second quarter. The mega-funds--many of which are among the most popular funds used in 401(k) retirement plans--have performed well because most are heavily invested in blue-chip stocks, the market's favorite issues since 1994. Still, only six of the top 25 mega-funds beat the main blue-chip index, the Standard & Poor's 500, in the quarter and the half. Among fund families, Janus Funds' two giants (Janus Fund and Janus Worldwide) are hot this year, as is American Century's Ultra fund. Fidelity is looking good with Magellan, Contrafund and Blue Chip Growth. Meanwhile, American Funds' more conservative Washington Mutual and Investment Co. of America funds, as usual, are content in the short term to play tortoise to their hare peers.

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Total returns, Assets through June 30: Fund (billions) Qtr. Half 1 yr. 5 yrs. Fidelity Magellan $71 +3.4% +18.1% +29.0% +142% Vanguard Index 500 61 +3.3 +17.7 +30.1 +181 Washington Mutual 46 +0.3 +12.6 +27.2 +165 Inv. Co. of America 44 +1.6 +13.1 +24.4 +145 Fidel. Gro. & Inc. 44 +3.0 +16.1 +28.0 +169 Fidelity Contrafund 34 +4.5 +17.3 +29.7 +153 Vanguard Windsor II 30 +1.8 +14.8 +30.4 +174 Amer. Century Ultra 25 +7.0 +24.0 +31.2 +147 Vanguard Wellington 25 +1.0 +8.9 +19.1 +116 Fidelity Puritan 25 +2.6 +10.8 +19.0 +107 Fidelity Eq.-Income 25 --0.1 +11.3 +23.2 +151 Fidel. Adv. Gro. Opp. 23 +1.2 +11.5 +24.5 +155 Vanguard Windsor 22 --2.3 +10.3 +17.0 +139 Income Fund of Amer. 22 --0.5 +6.4 +18.1 +97 Janus Fund 22 +6.1 +21.5 +32.0 +142 Europacific Growth 21 --0.2 +13.4 +7.6 +106 Putnam Gro. & Inc. A 19 --1.0 +9.8 +17.8 +140 New Perspective 19 +2.6 +18.6 +18.4 +137 Fidel. Eq.-Income II 19 +3.1 +16.0 +27.0 +143 Vanguard Inst. Index 18 +3.3 +17.7 +30.2 +183 MSDW Div. Growth 18 +0.8 +13.6 +22.4 +134 Pimco Total Return 18 +2.6 +4.2 +11.0 +44 Putnam Gro. & Inc. B 16 --1.2 +9.4 +16.8 +131 Fidel. Blue Chip Gro. 16 +4.2 +18.8 +29.3 +171 Janus Worldwide 15 +7.2 +24.8 +26.4 +188 Avg. general stock fund --0.3 +11.8 +22.6 +133 S&P 500 index +3.3 +17.7 +30.2 +182

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Source: Lipper Analytical Services

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