NU Online News Service, April 5, 2004, 12:10 p.m. – Continuing a trend begun last year, smaller-cap and value-oriented mutual funds performed better than all other domestic fund investment styles in the first quarter of 2004, reports Standard & Poor’s, New York.[@@]

Small-cap funds returned 5.14% during the first quarter, including 0.45% in the month of March, S&P says.

Value oriented mutual funds showed an average return of 4.41% for the quarter and 0.26% in March.

In comparison, the average domestic equity fund was up 3.02% for the first quarter, despite a drop of 0.62% in March.

Smaller-cap stocks may have benefited from low interest rates, while value funds may have gained from investors’ defensive investment moves, says Ken Shea, managing director of global equity research at Standard & Poor’s.

S&P believes the recent market correction was probably temporary and that markets will generally rise this year.

“The correction was more a breather?than a case of fundamental problems,” says Shea.