By a narrow margin, actively managed large-cap mutual funds on average bested the S&P 500 during the first half of 2005, according to Standard & Poor's. The defeat was far from resounding, with only 52.5% of such funds topping the index.

"Energy, utilities and real estate issues led the market in the first half of 2005," said Rosanne Pane, mutual fund strategist at S&P. "Large-cap funds benefited from their overweight in those segments relative to the S&P 500. Cash holdings also helped large-cap active fund managers edge ahead of the S&P 500, which returned a -0.81% through the end of June."

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