Sometimes being in the middle leaves much to be desired. But other times, the middle ground is actually the perfect spot for investors seeking great growth stocks.
Let’s face it — much of Wall Street is followed in a very close manner by analysts, brokerages and institutions. Meanwhile, many midsize firms and sneaky growth stocks fly under the radar.
But midcap stocks make up some of the best mutual funds and best ETFs … and they allow investors to participate in a part of the market that has much positive momentum going for it. Many have compelling business models and substantial earnings as well.
As these stories unfold over time, investor attention can reward shareholders in a big way … and without quite as much risk as small-cap stocks.
Here are three of the best mutual funds and best ETFs that offer solid exposure to midcap growth stocks:
Primecap Odyssey Aggressive Growth
One of the best mutual funds in the midcap space is the Primecap Odyssey Aggressive Growth (POAGX) fund. The fund of growth stocks is setting a blistering pace, with gains of 45% year-to-date and up 28% annualized over the past five years.
Performance has been especially strong this year, so investors need to realize that this fund will not always have the wind at its back. But this is still one of the best mutual funds because it features team management that has a low-turnover approach to stock picking, with turnover just 14% over the past year.
Plus, expenses are just 0.68%, or $68 annually for every $10,000 invested. And over the past five years, Morningstar data shows that a $10,000 investment in this bundle of growth stocks has grown to $34,696 vs. just $20,829 if you bought the S&P 500 using the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX).
This type of performance provides compelling proof that the right active management can achieve superior results in the best mutual funds over time. Current growth stocks in the fund include: Pharmacyclics (PCYC), Dreamworks Animation (DWA), Seattle Genetics (SGEN) and ComScore (SCOR) .
Guggenheim S&P Midcap 400 Pure Growth 400
Next up, the Guggenheim S&P Midcap 400 Pure Growth 400 (RFG) is one of the best ETFs to invest in growth stocks. The RTF tracks the fastest growing third of the S&P Midcap 400 index and adjusts the portfolio based on the strength of a firm’s growth characteristics.
The ETF usually holds about 100 stocks, but currently 92 growth stocks make up its portfolio. Consumer discretionary and industrial growth stocks are the top sectors. This is also one of the best ETFs because it re-balances quarterly, meaning the RFG definitely doesn’t take a passive approach to stock selection.
This bundle of growth stocks has also returned 26% annualized over the last five years according to Morningstar, and is up slightly more year-to-date. It’s one of the best ETFs out there in terms of price, too. Expenses run at just 0.35%, or $35 for every $10,000 invested.
T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth
Finally, the T. Rowe Price Mid-Cap Growth (RPMGX) fund isn’t for everyone, but it’s still one of the best mutual funds you can buy in this space. The growth stocks fund is now closed to new retail investors, but it remains a popular 401k plan option.
The “master of midcap” Brian Berghuis has managed this fund since its 1992 inception. One of the best mutual funds out there, the RPMGX is up over 31% year-to-date and has appreciated 11.5% annually over the past decade — good enough to rank in the top 7% of its Morningstar category.
One thing to note: This fund has grown to a whopping $22 billion in assets compared to around $1.4 billion back in 2004, making it tough to manage in a nimble way. In fact, while it’s name still emphasizes midcap growth stocks, it now has about 12% of its portfolio in large-cap stocks.
Despite that shift, this remains one of the best mutual funds for midcap growth stocks since Berghuis is still an excellent stock-picker and because he is backed by the fine research of T. Rowe Price.
Expenses are 0.80% and the fund of growth stocks currently has 139 holdings. Top sectors are industrials and technology, with turnover a rather modest 30% in the last year. Current top holdings include Carmax (KMX), EQT Corp (EQT), Fiserv (FISV) and IDEX (IEX).
As of this writing, Bill Wysor was long POAGX and RFG.