Best Mutual Funds So Far This Year

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Best Mutual Funds So Far This Year

Daniel Cross Feb 23, 2016

It hasn’t been a great year for the markets so far. The S&P 500 is down around 5% year-to-date and volatility is unnerving investors and scaring away new buyers. With a potential bear market threatening to drag down the broader averages, finding a winning investment presents a bit of a challenge.
However, even in a rough market, not all sectors react the same. There’s always a bull market out there, it just takes a bit of looking to find it. Using mutual funds to invest can be a good way to take advantage of growing industries while using diversification to hedge against downside risks.

If you’re looking for growth in this environment, you might want to take a look at our list of the best-performing mutual funds year-to-date.

Deutsche Gold & Precious Metals Fund (SGDAX)

Gold has been on fire this year, gaining over 11% in less than two months. So it should come as no surprise that our number one mutual fund performer, SGDAX, is a gold fund. The fund invests at least 80% of its assets in companies engaged in gold mining or other precious metals. This year, the fund is up a staggering 31.48% compounded daily. While the expense ratio is standard for the industry at 1%, the gains investors are seeing this year are making any fees irrelevant.

PIMCO Extended Duration Fund (PEDIX)

While it’s unusual to see a bond fund as one of the best-performing mutual funds, considering how poorly the broader indexes have done so far this year, it’s not surprising. The PIMCO fund PEDIX invests in long-term, high-quality debt instruments, making it a fairly conservative product. Nevertheless, it’s up 11.91% year-to-date. With an expense ratio of just 0.51%, this fund is a bargain for investors looking for high performance and low risk.

Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Fund (VUSTX)

The second bond fund on our list is also one of the highest-performing funds for the year. VUSTX invests in long-term Treasuries issued by the government with an average duration of 15 years. Year-to-date the fund is up 8.28%, making it the highest-performing fund while remaining in the lowest risk category on our list. It also comes with a very low expense ratio of just 0.20%. This makes it a value buy for conservative investors.

American Century Utilities Fund (BULIX)

This sector-specific fund invests at least 80% of its assets in utility stocks. As a conservative sector, utilities have done well so far this year as evidenced by BULIX’s year-to-date performance of 4.30%. Like most of the other funds on our list, the utilities fund is considered a low-risk investment. It also carries an expense ratio of 0.67%.

The Bottom Line

While the markets haven’t been posting positive results this year, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any opportunities for investors. As our list of high-performing funds proves, there’s always a sector of the global economy that’s in a bull market. While these funds are currently high fliers right now, as we head deeper into the year, there could be other sectors and other funds that end up replacing the ones on our list.

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