Findings on 2011 mutual fund performance

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Managers of stock mutual funds had an unusually tough time beating the market in 2011, with more than 4 of 5 failing to achieve that goal. That’s according to S&P Indices, which this week released its 10th annual managed fund vs. stock index performance scorecard. The 2011 results were the worst over those 10 years.

U.S. stock funds that are actively managed, rather than track an index, lost an average 2.6 percent last year. The broader market rose modestly, as measured by the nearly 1.8 percent return, including dividends, for the Standard & Poor’s Composite 1500. More than 84 percent of stock funds failed to beat that index, which includes large-, mid- and small-cap stocks.

Over 10 years, the average percentage of funds underperforming in a given year was 57. Below are percentages of funds that underperformed versus the S&P 1500, going back 10 years: