Healthcare, alternative energy drove best stock funds in third quarter By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The top-performing U.S. stockpickers of the third quarter made bets on companies ranging from healthcare technology to wind power, helping some funds post gains of 40% or more during a three-month stretch that ended with the S&P 500 suffering its first monthly decline since March.

The $7.4 million WP Small Companies fund posted the best overall performance among actively managed U.S. equity funds with a 45.9% gain through Sept. 29, according to Morningstar Direct data released on Wednesday. Its largest position by far was in healthcare technology company Ontrak Inc, which made up nearly 34% of its portfolio. Shares of the company are up nearly 268% for the year to date.

The $5.2 billion Baron Partners Retail fund followed with a gain of 45.4% for the quarter, slightly ahead of the $480 million Baron Focused Growth Retail fund.

The $95 million Shelton Green Alpha fund posted a 29.7% gain for the quarter, making it the 7th-best fund overall and the best performer among funds that invest based on environmental, social and governance factors. Its largest position was in Vestas Wind Systems A/S, which is up 55% for the year to date.

The outsized gains came in a quarter in which the benchmark S&P 500 rose 8.5% overall. The index dropped 3.9% in September, its first monthly decline since the Federal Reserve launched unprecedented stimulus measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among fixed income managers, the $3.3 billion AlphaCentric Income Opportunities fund posted the best return among active funds with a 10.4% gain for the quarter. The fund had its largest positions in mortgage-backed securities, including Option One Mortgage Loan Trust and Soundview Home Loan Trust, according to Morningstar data.

The $862 million MicroSector FANG+ 3x Leveraged fund posted the best return among all funds. The fund, which uses options to triple the daily gain or loss of technology giants such as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:) and Apple Inc (NASDAQ:), gained 94.5% over the quarter, pushing its year-to-date return to 205.5%.

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