Against that backdrop, funds which did manage to produce stellar results stand out all the more. Which is why we decided to recognize top performers by naming them to Fortune's 2011 Mutual Fund All-Star Team. What we didn't want to do was mistake a hot streak for real investing skill. So after we screened for the year's top funds through early November, we again screened to make sure each fund's past returns ranked among the top 20% of peers over a five-year period, according to Morningstar. In the end, we selected five funds from different Morningstar categories. (Most charge average fees, but two, the Wells Fargo and Epoch funds, also carry a load.) The group has a wide range of approaches but one thing in common: Its members proved in 2011 that the best fund managers can earn gains for investors even in a punishing market.
Times are uncertain. Reliability and income matter more than ever. These undervalued names offer stability.
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