Unlike with stocks, there's no direct supply/demand dynamic that drives the price per share of a mutual fund. As long as a fund hasn't closed -- a smart, shareholder-friendly move -- you can always get in the door. The upshot? There's no "price target" that investors need to shoot for. Instead, savvy fund investors gauge a prospective pick relative to their own asset-allocation game plan and dive in if it makes a good fit.
For long-term types, that's the smartest path to investing success, but there are times when it pays to be intelligently opportunistic. And right now, I'd argue, is one of those times.
Everyone and his stock jock of an uncle knows that small caps have been spanking the big boys for what seems like forever. Given the market's knack for reverting to the mean, it doesn't take a financial genius to think that maybe, just maybe, right now might be a good time to bulk up on the big boys.
But if making that call is relatively straightforward, determining how, exactly, to do the bulking up is more of a challenge. Ready for the easy answer?
Two words: mutual funds.
Yep, and more particularly, mutual funds of the large-cap-growth persuasion.
Because they've been out of favor for so long now, large-cap growth stocks sport the market's sweetest relative valuations, with the likes of XTO Energy
Meanwhile, such growth titans as Intel
What's that smell?
Mmmm. Gotta love the smell of a good stock-market bargain. Thing is, as those stocks' recent trajectories make clear that growth investing -- even among large caps -- isn't for the fainthearted. Along with the potential for outsized profits comes the potential for outsized volatility, which is another good reason why growth investing through mutual funds makes Foolish sense.
Not just any fund will do, of course, but the good news is that smart investors have options aplenty. You could do a lot worse, for example, than to opt for one of the most popular large-cap growth funds around, Fidelity Blue Chip Growth (FBGRX), which has attracted more than $19.5 billion in assets. You could also go the indexing route and choose the iShares Russell 1000 Growth (IWF) exchange-traded fund (ETF). Both funds boast dirt-cheap price tags and, in the case of the Fidelity offering, a senior manager who has been on the case for more than 10 years.
One more idea: American Funds Growth Fund of America (AGTHX). This is a rock-solid pick, though one, alas, that carries a sales charge or "load." If it appears in your company's retirement-plan lineup, though, be sure to give it careful consideration.
The Foolish bottom line
You might also consider taking a look at the large-cap growth worthies I've recommended to members of the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service. It won't cost you a dime to do so, and in the newsletter update that hits the streets this Thursday, I call out the two funds with forward-looking prospects that I like best.
One is an ace international Champ that favors smaller-cap fare. The other is . well, you've no doubt guessed: a large-cap growth fund helmed by a talented stock picker with a long-haul track record of delivering the goods for shareholders. The guy "eats his own cooking," too. Indeed, the only way he can invest in the stock market is through the funds he manages.
Intrigued? Just click here for a free 30-day guest pass to Champion Funds, which provides access to our complete recommendations list, as well as our model portfolios and back-issue archives. There's no obligation to stick around if you find it's not for you, so go ahead -- make your day: There is a way to invest in growth stocks while keeping a lid on volatility. And it's just a mouse-click away.
Shannon Zimmerman runs point on the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter service, and, at the time of publication, didn't own any of the securities mentioned above. Yahoo! and Amazon.com are Stock Advisor recommendations. Intel is an Inside Value pick. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking righthere.