Three funds for growth fans
These managers have a knack for spotting winners.
(Fortune Magazine) -- Considering the hazards of investing in fast-growing companies, you may want to have an expert do your stock picking for you. The managers of these three funds are triple threats: They deliver superior returns with low turnover and below-average expenses.
BARON ASSET (Charts) (BARAX) Manager Ron Baron has returned 8.6% annually in the past five years, beating both the S&P 500 and his mid-cap growth peers by wide margins. Baron favors small, speedy firms with talented management, and he sticks with them for an average of seven years. He avoids certain sectors, such as technology, where change comes quickly and can erase a firm's advantages overnight. Baron owns a handful of stocks from FORTUNE's Fastest-Growing list, including Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a futures trading exchange, and Apollo Group, a for-profit education company that provides programs tailored for working adults.
NEUBERGER BERMAN FASCIANO (Charts) (NBFSX) Mike Fasciano has run Neuberger Berman Fasciano for nearly 20 years, using a cautious approach that performs well in both up and down markets. The unsung manager sifts through small caps for those with strong cash flows and balance sheets that are growing earnings by 15% to 25% per year. Lately he's been increasing his exposure to sectors, such as health care, that he believes will hold up as the economy slows. Among the stocks on the Fastest-Growing list, Fasciano owns Actuant, an industrial-tools and hydraulic-equipment manufacturer.
T. ROWE PRICE NEW HORIZONS (Charts) (PRNHX) Manager Jack Laporte, who has run the fund since 1987, spreads his bets among nearly 300 small-cap stocks. He's delivered 7.8% annualized returns during the past five years, handily outpacing his small-cap growth rivals. High energy prices and interest rates have led Laporte to shift away from consumer-oriented firms and toward industrials and business-services companies. He currently holds about a half-dozen stocks from our list among his top holdings, including oil-equipment maker Grant Prideco and military supplier Armor Holdings.