As an investing geek, I enjoy tracking the market's ever-changing moods. I get a kick out of watching Wall Street swoon or soar based on the latest scrap of macroeconomic data. It's even better to watch the Gucci-loafer set's reaction when a company misses or exceeds earnings estimates by some marginal amount. Was the result already priced in? Was it a genuine surprise?

Inquiring minds wanna know!
It depends on whom you ask, with sometimes even seemingly strong earnings reports leading to poor reviews from Wall Street market makers. The upshot? As an investing geek I'm intrigued by Mr. Market's mercurial ways, but as an actual investor, I want nothing to do with them. Well, next to nothing anyway. I do own a handful of individual stocks, but the lion's share of my nest egg is invested in Grade-A mutual funds for a simple reason: I hate losing money.

Funds aren't immune to downturns, of course, but they're a lot less risky than individual stocks, which have a bad habit of behaving irrationally. Funds, meanwhile, are more even-keeled and logical. Indeed, if you do your homework and focus on common-sense criteria like fees, strategy, and whether fund managers invest their own moola alongside that of their shareholders, you can go a long way toward identifying those funds that can both grow and protect your nest egg.

Call it a two-for-one
That's the premise we've been operating under at the Fool's Champion Funds investing service for more than three years now. So far, all of our recommendations have made money for members, and one of my favorite funds has had exactly one losing year since opening for business in 1999. That occurred in 2002, when it shed less than 2% during a year that saw the S&P 500 fall by more than 22%.

With nearly 70% of assets stuffed into just 10 names, the fund appears quite concentrated. One secret of its success, though, is that roughly 17% of the fund's moola is plunked down on Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-B). That single holding provides additional exposure to an equity portfolio that includes White Mountains Insurance (NYSE:WTM), Wal-Mart, and Tyco (NYSE:TYC).

General Electric (NYSE:GE) and US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) have made Buffett's grade, too, and therefore this fund's, whose portfolio also features the likes of EchoStar Communications (NASDAQ:DISH) and Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK).

If you'd like to sneak a peek at this pick and all of our other recommendations -- a group that's bested the market by more than 13 percentage points -- click here and snag a free 30-day guest pass to Champion Funds. Your pass provides access to our model portfolios, back issues, and members-only discussion boards -- resources that should come in handy for folks who love to invest but hate losing money. Check it and see.

This article was originally published on Jan. 30, 2007. It has been updated.

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. Berkshire Hathaway, Tyco, and Wal-Mart are Inside Value recommendations. US Bancorp and Duke Energy are Income Investor picks. You can check out the Fool's strict disclosure policy by clicking right here.