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.

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