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Taking Stock: Mutual funds' performance may suggest future for long-term investment in college

Malcolm Berko: Here are five funds, the past performances of which are uncommonly better than those of their brethren. And because their past performances are strongly above average, I think their future long-term performances will be nearly as good, as good as or better than their past results.
BY Malcolm Berko Published: February 17, 2013
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Gene, who is a certified public accountant, achieved his record by purchasing less popular equities — such as Fifth Third Bank, CA Technologies, XL Group, New York Community Bank and Seadrill.

Bruce Fund (BRUFX-$398), run by Robert Bruce since 1983, from the windy city of Chicago, is a $351 million no-load value fund. This barely known fund enjoys a five-year average return of 5.96 percent and a 10-year return of 16.2 percent, owning issues such as AirBoss of America, Pfizer, Merck and Allstate. BRUFX has a very low portfolio turnover (11 percent) and a low expense ratio.

Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX-$79.60) is an $85 billion large-cap growth fund managed by William Danoff since 1990. This no-loader has a five-year average return of 2.6 percent and a 10-year return of 9.6 percent, with a little higher portfolio turnover ratio than its brethren. Danoff's largest portfolio holdings are McDonald's, Coca-Cola Co., Google, TJX Companies, Disney and Visa.

Homestead Small-Company Stock Fund (HSCSX-$27.98) is another quiet no-loader. The $350 million fund has been managed from Arlington, Va., by Stuart Teach since 1998. With a $500 minimum initial investment, long-term shareholders of HSCSX have gotten a five-year average return of 8.4 percent and a 10-year return of 10.91 percent. HSCSX has unfamiliar issues, such as Cracker Barrel, Manitowoc, ManTech, Rofin-Sinar Technologies and Steris.

Make certain that all dividends and capital gains are reinvested. But before you fund this education trust, what provisions have you made if your granddaughter has no college plans and decides to become a zinc miner in Utah?

Please address your financial questions to Malcolm Berko, P.O. Box 8303, Largo, FL 33775, or email him at mjberko@yahoo.com.