For anyone keeping track, value stocks have certainly taken home the gold medal over the past decade. While the Russell 1000 Value Index has posted a cumulative 37.8% return over the most recent 10-year period, growth stocks have languished, with the Russell 1000 Growth Index spinning its wheels with a mere 0.2% cumulative showing in that time.
At some point, growth stocks will be due for a comeback, even if they don't get a multi-year run like their value counterparts. Investors should have at least some exposure to growth-oriented securities in their portfolio, so stocking up on a solid growth fund or two is a smart idea. But not all good investments are famous, big-name funds with billions in assets. Let's take a look at some relatively undiscovered growth funds and how they might work for your portfolio.
Buffalo Growth (BUFGX)
This large-cap growth fund clocks in with just $171 million in net assets, despite its fine long-term track record. Manager Kent Gasaway has been with the fund since its 1995 inception, while two other managers joined the team in late 2007, so there is some real consistency over time here. The team uses top-down macroeconomic analysis along with bottom-up stock selection to find the fastest growing U.S. companies that generate a meaningful portion of their revenues overseas. Over the past 15 years, the fund has put up an annualized 8.9% return, beating 92% of all large-growth funds.
Energy names Schlumberger
Jordan Opportunity (JORDX)
If you're looking to walk on the spicier side of growth investing, Jordan Opportunity could be just up your alley. This fund has only been around for six years, but the strategy underlying the fund goes back much further than that. Manager Jerry Jordan ran a private partnership dating back to 1992 that invested in the same manner, so there's a solid foundation here. Jordan takes a thematic approach to looking for mid-to-large-cap stocks with strong earnings growth that can surprise on the upside. Right now, Jordan is focusing strongly on industrial materials, which account for 37% of fund assets. Barrick Gold
This fund is not for the faint of heart -- or those averse to paying taxes on frequent capital gains distributions. Turnover is an eye-popping 336% a year, which means that the fund turns over its entire portfolio more than three times a year. Performance can also be a bit choppy from year to year here, although the fund ranks in the top 3% of all large-growth funds over the past five years. This isn't a fund for conservative investors, but folks with some patience should do well here over the long-run. Although expenses have dropped over the years, I'd still like to see the net expense ratio come down a bit more from its current 1.42% price tag. Given that the fund has only amassed $111 million in assets so far, I think expenses should continue to fall as assets under management grow. Jordan Opportunity has a good future ahead of it.
American Century Focused Growth (AFSIX)
Although this fund is just shy of celebrating its sixth birthday, I like what American Century Focused Growth has produced so far. The management duo here looks for companies with improving fundamental business characteristics and stock price strength compared to the broader market. Here, you'll find a lot of recognizable blue-chip growth names. For instance, management likes Apple
Over the most recent five-year period, the fund ranks in the top third of its peer group. While ideally, I'd like to see a more extended track record, so far the fund shows every indication of meeting success in both positive and adverse market conditions. Turnover is meaningful, at 66% a year, but expenses are a fairly low 1.01%. A mere $17 million has made its way into the fund's coffers so far, so management has a ton of breathing room here. American Century Focused Growth is on the right track and has a lot of room to grow – keep your eye out for this fund down the road.
Growth may never be as sexy as it once was in the late 1990s, but you can still reap the diversification and return benefits of growth-oriented stocks and funds. Whether your chosen fund is a well-known, popular one or a hidden gem with a tiny asset base, make sure growth stocks are a reasonable part of your portfolio.