April 9, 2003 — It reads like a who’s who of high-flying funds from 1999: Amerindo Technology Fund/D (ATCHX), up 24.4%, Munder Funds NetNet/A (MNNAX), up 6.8%, Red Oak Technology Select Fund (ROGSX), up 5.1%.
Technology funds, hardest hit among sector funds these past three years, bubbled to the top of the list in the first quarter, while gold funds, which shone brightly last year as the geopolitical landscape deteriorated, sold off once the war in Iraq finally got underway.
Despite the ranks of tech, biotech, and health care funds at the top of the performance charts, sector funds finished down 1.7% on average in the first quarter of 2003, slightly ahead of the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, which slipped 3.2%. The Nasdaq, in comparison, eked out a 0.42% gain for the period.
On an overall category basis, real estate funds tracked by Standard & Poor’s held up best, rising 1.2% for the quarter, followed by biotech funds, up 1.0% on average, and health care funds, up 0.82%. Funds investing in financials lost 4.9%, while utility funds lost 4.1%. Gold funds, on top last year with an outsized 61.4% gain, were at the bottom of the list, falling 11.8% for the quarter, and underscoring both the metal’s and gold funds’ volatility.
Despite the accelerated comeback of high-beta tech, Internet, and biotech funds, many are coming off extremely low bases, having suffered greatly the past three years with the sell-off in technology stocks starting in March 2000.
For example, RS Investment Trust: Internet Age Fund (RIAFX) a top-five performer among tech funds for the quarter, gaining 7.3%, lost 37.4% on average for the three years ended in March. Amerindo Technology, at the very top of the list, has given up 46.9% on average over the same three-year period.