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Indexes Outperformed Active Funds in First Quarter

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Standard & Poor’s reported that the returns of the major indexes led active funds in both the small- and mid-cap categories in the first quarter of 2007, while large-cap actively managed funds did beat the S&P 500 in the period. The S&P Indices Versus Active Funds Scorecard (SPIVA) results, showed that in the first quarter the S&P MidCap 400 outpaced 84.8% of mid-cap funds and the S&P SmallCap 600 led 53.5% of small-cap funds; 64% of their large-cap brethren beat the S&P 500. The data is corrected for survivorship bias, S&P noted, since over the last five years, 29.3% of domestic equity funds and 28.6% of economic sector funds have merged or liquidated.

Over the longer term, however, the indexes continue to outperform the majority of active funds. Over the past three- and five-year periods, the S&P 500 has outperformed 65.7% of large-cap funds (72.2% for five years), the S&P MidCap 400 has beaten 68.6% of mid-cap funds (77.4% over five years), and the S&P SmallCap 600 has outpaced 80.2% of small-cap funds (77.7% for five years).