Funds with big gaps between 3- and 5-year returns

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There’s currently an unusually large gap between stock mutual fund returns for the latest 3-year and 5-year periods. It’s important because 3- and 5-year numbers are common benchmarks for tracking fund performance.

The reason for the big gaps: Current 3-year returns don’t cover the period when the bottom fell out of the stock market in September and October 2008. But they do incorporate all the recovery that began in March 2009. Five-year returns look comparatively small now — and are many funds posted losses — because the period includes all of the market’s boom-bust-boom cycle dating to late 2006.

Below are the 10 U.S. stock funds with the biggest gaps between their 3- and 5-year returns, for the periods ended Nov. 30, according to Morningstar:

(asterisk)Figures are rounded