Russel Kinnel, director of fund research at Morningstar, tipped his hand this week by naming the Dodge & Cox stock management team, ICAP Select Equity fund manager Robert Lyon and Fidelity Contrafund skipper Will Danoff as possible candidates for the research firm's fund manager of the year. The list of candidates, Kinnel said, was drastically shortened by indictments from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer but plenty of deserving practitioners remain at large. Candidates are recognized for staying with their investment strategies during rocky market conditions and, of course, outperforming peers. "We seek to recognize shareholder-friendly managers who have produced outstanding returns in the current year and over the long term. We also look for managers who stuck with their investment style through good years and bad rather than bending to the prevailing winds," he said. The Dodge & Cox Stock management team scored points for closing the fund to protect investors and keeping annual expenses down to 0.54%. Danoff was noted for outperforming the Standard & Poor's 500 Index by 3.76 percentage points with a large asset base, while Lyon captured early notice by keeping his fund in the top decile for the past six years.

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