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Fund Spy

A Tale of Two Chart-Toppers

From worst to first ... what's next for these notable funds?

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A few weeks ago my colleague Russ Kinnel checked in on a handful of once-strong performers that had hit the skids to see if they had begun to turn things around so far in 2012. Most of the funds he highlighted, with the exception of soaring  Fairholme (FAIRX), are still in the tank for the year to date (admittedly a short period). Below I'll highlight two more notable funds that, like Fairholme, are topping the year-to-date charts after a marked weak period. Each has an interesting story to share.

 Third Avenue Value (TAVFX)
Through the end of 2011, Third Avenue Value's 5.57% five-year annualized loss landed in the world-stock category's worst decile. For the most part, its weakness could be blamed on two years: 2008 and 2011. Its bottom-quartile showing in 2008, when it lost more than 45%, came as a surprise for the value-oriented fund. After all, the fund had long prized balance-sheet strength, and in 2008's rough-and-tumble fourth quarter, the financially weakest companies were punished the most. Further, the fund had often held up better than indexes and peers in times of previous market stress.

Bridget B. Hughes does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.