Equity funds were clobbered in the first quarter of 2009, declining 9.25%, Lipper reported last week. Performance would have been even worse, were it not for a surprise rally in March.

"It was a deja vu experience from the meltdown of the previous quarter," noted Tom Roseen, research manager for U.S. and Latin America at Lipper. "While things were not quite as dour as November and December, we saw January and February posting the worst returns on record going back to 1933, with equity funds in January declining 7.57% and 8.97% in February."

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