Blue-chip and dividend-paying mutual funds turned out to be among the best investments in 2006, bucking their tradition of trailing the S&P 500, Associated Press reports. And emerging market mutual funds continued their strong run.

Meanwhile, high-growth industries, such as technology, delivered weaker than usual returns.

U.S. diversified equity funds returned 12.9% in 2006, slightly below the S&P 500’s 13.6% and the S&P 500 total return’s 16.3%, according to Lipper data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 16.3% return, and the Nasdaq, 9.52%.

By comparison, the best-performing mutual fund sector was emerging market mutual funds, up 31.9% for the year. Among country-specific funds, Latin American funds rose 43.7% and Asia-Pacific funds, ex-Japan, went up 29.6%.

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