S&P: Sector Funds Drop 1.7% in First Quarter

April 16, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Sector mutual funds on average finished down 1.7% in the first quarter of 2003, despite gains in real estate and biotech funds.

Sector funds did well though when compared to the broader S&P 500, which gave back 3.2% during the first quarter.   On an overall category basis, real estate funds held up best in the first quarter, rising 1.2%, followed by biotech funds (1%), and health care funds (0.82%), according to data from Standard and Poor’s Fund Advisor.

However, the remaining five sectors were all in the red, led by gold funds, which returned 61.4% in 2002, at the bottom of the list, falling 11.8% for the quarter.   The other big losses were recorded in funds investing in financials and utilities, down 4.9% and 4.1%, respectively.   Rounding out the bottom were Energy & Natural Resources (-2%) and Technology (-0.7%)

Individually, technology funds made a recovery in the first quarter, as the overall top performing sector funds read like a who’s who of the high-flying technology mutual funds from 1999: Amerindo Technology Fund, up 24.4%, Munder Funds NetNet, up 6.8%, Red Oak Technology Select Fund, up 5.1%.

The news release notes that investors may not seem convinced of a technology or an overall market turnaround yet, having pulled money out of stock funds both last year and this year. Stocks funds lost a net $11.1 billion in February, and $371 million in January.