Below are top-performing stock mutual funds of 2012, based on total returns, according to Morningstar Inc. The funds are listed in the nine categories the research firm uses to group stock funds based on investment style.
Specialized stock funds that focus on sectors and industries are not included. Also excluded are leveraged funds. Managers of these frequently volatile funds invest borrowed money with the goal of earning a greater return than the interest costs from the amount borrowed.
All the funds have a minimum investment requirement of $10,000 or less, making them accessible to most average investors. All have at least $100 million in assets. Funds in each category are listed in order of return size in 2012. For comparison, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index returned 16 percent.
"NA" indicates fund hasn't operated long enough to establish 3-year or 5-year records.