The market has beaten down on large-cap stocks over the past few years. And contrary to popular belief, this is good news for investors. Because of the slumping market, a number of extremely well-managed large-cap funds are poised to outperform. As master investor Warren Buffett has said, the best time to be greedy is when others are fearful.

Fool fund analyst Shannon Zimmerman is confident that the time for large companies is just around the corner. At his Motley Fool Champion Funds newsletter, he has identified 10 superior large-cap-oriented funds for subscribers, in addition to 25 other recommendations. He's so confident in the long-term prospects of each of these investment vehicles that we're loath to give away any of his picks to anyone who doesn't become a subscriber. But we're not above letting you know what attributes make these funds superior, or what they're buying and selling now.

One fund for the long run
Back in November 2004, Shannon recommended a large-cap growth fund that was "having a relatively easy time snapping up shares of the names it likes at discounted prices." More importantly, the fund boasted a talented management team, a time-tested strategy, and a rock-bottom expense ratio of just 0.5%, in a category whose average fund costs nearly 1.6%.

Since Shannon recommended this Champ a year ago, that expense ratio has fallen further (to 0.41%). That's exactly what separates an average fund from a great fund: management that sticks to its investing guns in good times and bad, and doesn't charge investors an arm and a leg for performance. Those traits have helped Shannon identify a basket of funds that have outrun their comparable indexes to the tune of nearly 7 percentage points.

The holdings
Before we get to the holdings, let me lead with how this Champ finds its stocks. The management team screens for earnings momentum, relative historical value, and future cash flows. At the time Shannon recommended the fund, its top 10 holdings included Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), AstraZeneca, AIG (NYSE:AIG), Pfizer, eBay, and Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL). Today, while Microsoft remains the fund's largest holding (2.6% of the total portfolio), AstraZeneca has fallen from third to sixth, eBay has plummeted from sixth to 163rd, and AIG, Pfizer, and Apollo Group seem to have been cast from the portfolio altogether. (The fund managers have likely learned a bit more about the situations at AIG and Pfizer and were aware of the issues that recently caused former Apollo CEO Todd Nelson to resign.)

Those top-10 positions have been replaced by Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), General Electric (NYSE:GE), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA).

At the end of September, management also disclosed that they increased the fund's stake in foreign holdings -- from less than 1% a year ago to more than 5% today. That's a substantial move and one that I attribute to the fund managers' particular penchant for diversification. That gain was complemented by smaller positions in technology, financial services, and consumer discretionary firms.

Foolish final fund thoughts
Since Shannon recommended this large-cap growth fund to subscribers, it has beaten its comparable index by more than 10 percentage points. Looking at this successful fund's holdings tells me that I should be looking abroad for more investments. I agree with that tack -- the economy is going global, and there is no smart reason to concentrate all of my financial interests (house, car, job, stocks) in the United States.

If you'd like to take a look at this large-cap growth Champ, as well as 34 more superior funds that Shannon has identified for subscribers, you can see them all for free with a 30-day trial to Champion Funds. You'll also have access to Shannon's aggressive, moderate, and conservative model portfolios, as well as to fund manager interviews and asset-allocation game plans. Best of all, the new issue - which releases at 4:00 EST Thursday afternoon -- reviews Shannon's current thinking on every fund recommended to date. It's a great time to get started, and there is no obligation to subscribe. Click here to learn more.

This article was originally published on Aug. 26, 2005. It has been updated.

Tim Hanson owns shares of Apollo Group. Microsoft and Pfizer are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. NVIDIA and eBay are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. No Fool is too cool for disclosure ... and Tim's pretty darn cool.