After trailing the S&P 500 last year and delivering the worst returns for his fund in nearly 10 years, Will Danoff, skipper of the $69 billion Fidelity Contrafund, has sold energy stocks, particularly oil and gas, and bulked up on financial services, Bloomberg reports.

Last year, Contrafund, Fidelity’s largest fund, rose 12%, trailing the S&P 500’s 16% rise. It marked a departure for Danoff, who in an analysis of 140 large-cap growth fund managers that Bloomberg undertook, delivered the best five-year performance of any of them. Evidently what he didn’t expect was for crude oil priced to plummet 28% last fall due to record temperatures in the northeast.

In a shareholder report, Contrafund admitted that “weak stock selection” led to disappointing returns.

By the end of December, Contrafund had reduced its exposure to energy to 7.1% of its assets, down from 11.4% in June.

Still, Danoff, who has managed the fund since 1990, has delivered strong returns for the most part. Over the past five years, the fund rose an average annual rate of 12%, compared to the S&P 500’s 6.4% average annual climb.

“Will Danoff has served his fund’s shareholders extremely well,” defended Fidelity spokesman Michael Shamrell. “He has proved his portfolio management abilities over the long term and in a wide variety of market conditions.”

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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