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Making money during the first quarter of 2011

By Dian Vujovich

Whether there is a government shutdown or not, the first quarter of 2011 rewarded many investors.

So far this year Wall Street has brushed off any socio- and economic concerns in the U.S. as well as those around the world whether they involved wars, rising gas prices, horrific natural and man-made events, inflation or a bickering Congress as making money appears to trump all.

The three major indices were up nicely as, broadly speaking, NASDAQ moved up about 4 percent, the S&P 500 over 5 percent and the DJIA over 6 percent during the quarter. While bonds weren’t hot performers, they did yield something—albeit only pennies, dimes and quarters in savings and money market accounts.

According to Lipperweb.com, stock funds were up on average 5.13 percent posting their best first quarter performance in five years. US Diversified equity funds edged higher with average returns of over 6 percent. Sector equity funds, a little less, up 5.6 percent.

Assets invested into Japanese funds didn’t do well—the average fund in that group was down nearly 5 percent. Funds managed to short the market didn’t either—they were down on average close to 9 percent.

Back to making money, Growth Core funds were up nearly 7 percent with Small-Cap Core stocks doing better—up on average 8.24 percent. Even better performance was found in Small-Cap Growth Funds, up over 9.4 percent

Natural Resources Funds were up on average nearly 13.7 percent, Global Natural Resources Funds ahead 9.3 percent; Health Biotechnology Funds up nearly 7.4 percent and Commodities Funds up 7.35 percent.

In the fixed-income arena, the top performing fund groups were High Current Yield Funds— up on average over 3.6 percent, and, Flexible Income Funds, up 2.4 percent.

Punier returns were seen in the General U.S. Treasury Funds. The average fund here was up 1.3 percent.

As for muni bond funds, well… they were up on average during the first quarter but by only 0.02 percent.

Positive words from the seemingly ever-happy Louis Navellier in his April 4 MarketMail newsletter: “The first 90 days of 2011 marked the best opening quarter for stocks since 1998….”

That was good news, right? As for the future, Navellier said that historically the markets tend to rise during the first half of April because that’s the time investors often fund their IRAs and other pensions.

I’m thinking this April might not wind up to be as robust if there is in fact a government shutdown of some agencies, parks, museum, etc.

But as always, time will tell.

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