Equity funds delivered 16.57% in 2010, with more than one-third of the gains, 6.43%, coming in during the last five weeks of the year, Lipper said.

And in the final quarter of the year, U.S. domestic equity funds trumped international equity funds, returning 11.41% compared to world equity funds’ 7.83% return. It was the first time in four quarters that U.S. domestic equity funds outshone world equity funds as well as two other broad macro-classification categories: sector equity funds, which rose 10.69% in the fourth quarter, and mixed equity funds, which delivered 6.14% in the quarter.

Further, for the third consecutive quarter, growth-oriented U.S. domestic equity funds outpaced the other styles, rising 13.21% in the fourth quarter. And it was the third quarter in four that small-cap funds beat other capitalization groups, with small-cap funds delivering 15.97% in the final quarter of the year.

Lipper noted that despite the Flash Crash in the middle of the year on May 6, equity funds have been in positive territory in the third and fourth quarters.

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