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.
Yacktman and Yacktman Focused (YACKX; YAFFX). The head honcho of these funds, Donald Yacktman, likes to sift through Wall Street's bargain bin for profitable businesses selling at deep discounts. This is his kind of market. During the 2000-02 bear market, the Yacktman Fund gained 14 percent by holding cash-rich companies and keeping a quarter of its assets in greenbacks; Yacktman Focused, which holds fewer stocks, returned 12 percent during that period. Again, a hefty cash stake has helped both funds mitigate the steep losses suffered by many of their peers so far this year. You'll find big-brand names like Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and PepsiCo in both funds.
2000-02 bear market return: 14 percent; 12 percent
2008 year-to-date return: -30 percent; -28 percent
More funds for tough times: