Mutual fund managers Tom Forester and David Ellison stood out from the crowd last year with the two best-performing funds, even though they both lost money in 2008.The Forester Value Fund was down 0.82% for the year, thanks to investments in stocks that typically do well during recessions, such as Kraft Foods Inc., Johnson & Johnson and H.J. Heinz Co. The average decline for the year in the value fund category was 38%, according to Morningstar Inc.Ellison's FBR Small Cap Financial Fund was second among financial sector funds, losing just 10% of its value, compared to an average decline of 45% in its category.While Forester and Ellison may want to adjust their portfolios as market conditions improve, they are continuing to attract new clients and new assets for now. Forester said his fund's assets have grown fivefold in 2008 to $55 million."I'll probably be in some of the same stocks for the first six months or so of 2009," Forester told the Associated Press. "And then as I see things getting better, I'm going to shift out of the real defensive things, and get more constructive on the more cyclical stocks that can grow quite well as we come out of this period."Ellison's fund is invested primarily in low-risk small banks and in cash. He said he plans to keep it there until the economy starts to show broader signs of recovery."I think unaffordable mortgages are still going to chew on the economy for a while," he said.
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