Funds for Tough Times: Forester Value

A relatively conservative stock fund that's been holding up better than its peers.


So far this year, not a single diversified stock fund has made money. Most have gotten creamed: According to Morningstar, the average loss for funds that invest in the United States is 42 percent, and, for those that invest internationally, 50 percent. Here's a look at relatively conservative stock funds that produced positive returns during the last bear market (March 24, 2000, through Oct. 9, 2002) and have been holding up better than their peers so far this year.

Forester Value  (FVALX). Risk-conscious investors, listen up: In its history, Forester Value has lost money only in 2007, when it dropped 5 percent. It's down just 3 percent so far this year, which makes it the second-best performing U.S. stock fund (behind Embarcadero Alternative Strategies). The fund built up its cash stake earlier in the year, but recently, just more than 15 percent of its assets were in cash. Healthcare and food stocks make up Forester's top five, among them Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods, which have both held up relatively well in 2008.

2000-02 bear market return: 5 percent

2008 year-to-date return: -3 percent More funds for tough times:

Mairs & Power Growth

Yacktman and Yacktman Focused


FAM Equity-Income

FAM Value

American Century Equity Income

Royce Special Equity

Berwyn Fund