Russel Kinnel, director of fund research for Morningstar, has shared his list of winners for the first half of 2015.
“I looked at the top and bottom performers in the Morningstar 500 by total return and ranking relative to their Morningstar Category,” Kinnel explained in a recent Morningstar commentary.
“It’s a useful exercise, because everyone wants to know why their fund is having extreme performance, and that information can help you to understand how other funds in your portfolio performed,” he explained.
Still, the fund expert cautioned: “This isn’t a buy list. That’s what our Morningstar Medalists list is for.”
For advisors and investors who’ve been following different equity sectors, especially the run-up in biotech stocks, the winners should not come as a huge surprise.
Topping the list is the T. Rowe Price Health Sciences Fund (PRHSX), with a total return of 20%.
“Yes, it sounds like a broken record, but health care did well, and smaller biotech and pharma names did even better,” Kinnel stated. “Mergers keep driving the market higher, and this fund’s emphasis on the small/mid-cap end of health care has been a boon.”
Coming in second is the Century Small Cap Select Fund (CSMVX), with returns of 14%.
This fund, which lagged its peers in 2013 and 2014, recently boosted its health care exposure, while also adding some tech and bank stocks. Nonetheless, Kinnel says, the fund’s three-year record is subpar despite its breakout in the first two quarters of the year.
The third-ranking fund for 2015 is the Vanguard Health Care Fund (VGHCX), with a 14% total return.
“Mega-cap health-care stocks haven’t been too shabby, either,” the Morningstar analyst said. “Even dull names like UnitedHealth Group and Cigna are enjoying big rallies this year. The Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act didn’t hurt.”