Go Big Or Go Home

4/17/2017


Among diversified U.S. stock funds, large-company growth funds have done best this year, gaining 8.2%, according to Morningstar. Large-cap blend funds are up 5.2%, in third place behind the 6.7% return of midcap growth funds.

Large-cap stock funds are a mainstay of our recommended fund portfolios. And with the biggest companies expected to report strong March quarters, the sector looks more timely than the alternatives. Listed below are nine standout large-cap funds, all of which share these attributes:

• Fund scores of 88 or higher, near the top 12%, in our rating system. We rank 5,136 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including 792 large-cap funds. Scores reflect expense ratios, risk-adjusted performance, tax efficiency, and a variety of total returns.

• Four or five stars from Morningstar. The ratings, which gauge risk-adjusted return relative to similar funds, reward steady performance.

• Genuine large-cap exposure. Most large-cap funds stray and hold midcap and sometimes small-cap stocks. We focused on funds that have at least three-quarters of assets in large stocks.

• Experienced portfolio managers that stick to a strategy. For nonindex funds, we screened for managers at the helm at least three years that adhere to a consistent style, making their track records more meaningful.

• Reasonable expenses. Expenses are an unavoidable — but controllable — drain on performance. The nine funds below charge 0.68% or less annually.

• Performance that consistently outstrips peers. All nine funds outpaced category averages for the last one, three, and five years.

9 OF THE BEST LARGE-CAP STOCK FUNDS
--- Total Return ---
12-
Month
Yield
(%)
Fund (Price; Ticker)
Year-
To-Date
(%)
5-Year
Annual.
(%)
Expense
Ratio
(%)
Fund
Score
Growth
T. Rowe Price Growth ($59; PRGFX)
11.0
13.9
0.1
0.68
93
Vanguard Growth ($121; VUG) ETF
9.1
13.3
1.3
0.08
90
Vanguard Growth Index ($62; VIGRX)
9.3
13.2
1.2
0.18
88
Blend
iShares Morning. Lrg.-Cap ($142; JKD) ETF
7.2
15.2
1.9
0.20
100
PRIMECAP Odyssey ($27; POSKX)
6.0
15.1
1.1
0.67
94
Vanguard Growth & Income ($43; VQNPX)
4.9
13.9
1.9
0.34
93
Value
Dodge & Cox Stock Fund ($189; DODGX)
4.3
16.0
1.2
0.52
97
Vanguard Value ($95; VTV) ETF
2.9
14.1
2.4
0.08
99
Vanguard Value Index ($37; VIVAX)
2.9
14.0
2.3
0.18
96
Forecasts' recommended funds in bold.    ETF Exchange-traded fund.

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