Weiss: Stock Funds Show Off 32.8% Average 2003 Returns

March 10, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - After three consecutive years of losses, nearly 100% of stock mutual funds reported positive returns last year, delivering an average 32.8% performance, according to Weiss Ratings, a provider of financial services industry ratings.

Stock mutual fund sectors registering the largest gains during the year were precious metals, emerging markets, and technology, with increases of 59.4%, 55.4%, and 52.8%, respectively, Weiss said in a news release. Weiss reviewed 9,498 stock mutual funds. Those reporting the largest fourth-quarter 2003 returns were:

  • Eaton Vance Greater India A, 43.38%  
  • ProFunds-Semicond UltraSector Inv, 29.40%      
  • Reynolds Fund, 18%  
  • ProFunds-Internet UltraSector Inv, 17.36%
  • Apex Mid-Cap Growth Fund, 14.37%.

Virtually all of bond funds reported positive returns for 2003, although the average return was just 6% as interest rates fluctuated amidst an equity market recovery. Weiss looked at 5,036 bond funds.

The market rally that fueled double-digit gains for stock funds also propelled closed-end mutual funds to a strong showing in 2003. Approximately 99% of closed-end funds reported being in the black for the year, earning an average 25.9% advance. Weiss looked at 701 closed-end funds.