For just about 10 years now, we at the Fool have been pointing out how most managed stock mutual funds fail to do as well as a simple index fund. That's still true. But it's also true that here and there, a few managed stock funds do serve their investors pretty well. One problem, though, is that a fund that's well above average one year might perform miserably for the next five.

Bill Miller to the rescue! Miller, who has long been at the helm of the Legg Mason Value Trust fund (ticker: LMVTX), has a winning streak going that's on the verge of its 13th year. In each of the past 12 years, Miller's fund (co-managed now with Nancy Dennin), has outperformed its benchmark, the S&P 500 index -- although, in the past few years it has done so by losing less than the index. As of last week, the fund was up some 33% for the year, compared to 23% for the index -- terrific numbers for both.

Helping Miller produce his gains were investments in Tyco (NYSE:TYC), which rose around 20% in the fourth quarter, and Nextel (NASDAQ:NXTL), which has doubled over the past year. Miller and Dennin like to find companies they think have been pushed to unreasonable lows -- and point to Tyco as an example. While others feared it might go out of business, they saw value in its assets. Other solid contributors have been (NASDAQ:AMZN), Capital One Financial (NYSE:COF), and power producer AES Corp. (NYSE:AES).

So what stocks is Miller licking his chops at these days? In a recent issue of Fortune magazine, he recommended InterActiveCorp. (NASDAQ:IACI), formerly known as USA Interactive, which is the parent company of, Lending Tree, Ticketmaster,, and the Home Shopping Network, among other properties. Miller called the company "the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) for the new economy."

If you're looking for additional promising companies, check out our suite of stock newsletters, or our roundup of stocks for 2004.