The idea of a comeback in large-cap growth stocks has been kicked around for a while now. And despite the market volatility of the past few weeks, growth stocks have been outperforming the broader market so far this year. Year to date through the end of July, the S&P 500 Index is up 3.6%, but the Russell 1000 Growth Index has posted a 6.5% gain. Most growth stocks have a lot of room to run, and investors who stock up now are likely to reap the benefits. Below, we look at two top growth-oriented mutual funds that give investors a lot of bang for their buck.
A growth giant
My first fund is still the single largest mutual fund in existence -- American Funds' Growth Fund of America
Growth Fund looks for high-potential growth companies, but has historically invested in other areas as opportunities arose. As such, this fund tends to hold more of a moderate-growth portfolio, rather than aggressive growth. This approach has worked out well for the fund, as it has managed to keep pace with the broader market during the past seven years, even as growth stocks fell out of favor. Right now, big names such as Microsoft
Performance has been strong across the board, with the fund beating the S&P 500 in seven of the last 10 years and besting the Russell 1000 Growth in eight of those years. Growth Fund will likely lag more aggressive growth funds during speculative environments, but the fund still turned in an impressive 45.7% return in 1999. Of course, at some point the fund's size will begin to catch up with it, making nimble investing difficult. It's hard to say when exactly that will be, but investors should watch out for index-like returns and sector allocations that mirror the benchmark. So far, that hasn't happened, and at least for the foreseeable future, Growth Fund of America has plenty of room to grow.
A small-fry growth fund
If you're looking for a more-undiscovered growth fund with a smaller asset base, look no further than Brandywine Blue
Brandywine Blue typically employs a more concentrated approach to growth investing, with more than 60% of the portfolio in just three sectors: hardware, health care, and industrial materials. This means that the fund's performance can be volatile if its sector bets don't work out as planned. For example, the fund missed its mark by a wide margin in 1998, only to rebound strongly in 1999. Likewise, performance has at times been lumpy from quarter to quarter, alternating between strong and weak periods. However, the long-term results are hard to argue with -- the fund's 15-year annualized return of 13.5% is one of the best in its peer group. And, unlike most growth funds, Brandywine Blue actually held up rather well during the bear market of 2000-2002.
The fund does have a rather high annual turnover rate, with a current level of 207%. While this means a lot of trading is going on within the portfolio, it is a part of Brandywine's overall investment process, which has been perfected over the years. A reasonable 1.10% net expense ratio and a long-tenured investment team make this fund an excellent choice for investors who are looking to get exposure to the mid-to-large-growth corner of the market. While no one can predict exactly how growth stocks will perform in the coming weeks and months, Brandywine Blue is well-positioned to capitalize on any bounce that may occur.
- Growth Fund of America Tips the Scales
- A Beginner's Guide to Growth Stocks
- 4 Myths About Growth Stock Investing
To find out what other growth funds are at the top of their class, check out the Fool's Champion Funds newsletter, free for 30 days.
Fool contributor Amanda Kish lives in Rochester, N.Y., and does not own shares of any of the companies or funds mentioned herein. Microsoft is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.