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WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

North American equity funds rising above the crowd in this year's wild markets.

Their managers have flexibility to move between the Canadian and U.S. markets to find the best opportunities, and invest up to 10 per cent of the fund outside North America.

Canada's stock market has a heavy exposure to resource and smaller companies, while the U.S. market is characterized by bigger firms and more offerings in sectors like consumer products, technology and health care.

TODAY'S SEARCH

We checked the year-to-date returns of North American equity funds to this Thursday, and excluded the duplicate and U.S.-dollar versions.

It's been roller-coaster ride with the S&P/TSX composite index tumbling 16 per cent before recovering to gain 11 per cent. The S&P 500 plunged 25 per cent before rebounding to cut its loss to 2 per cent.

WHAT DID WE FIND?

A few double-digit gains.

Trimark North American Endeavour is at the top of the heap with a 19.3-per-cent return this year. Formerly known as AIM American Mid Cap Growth Class, the fund changed its mandate in late 2007 when manager Jason Whiting took over.

The value-oriented fund is 75 per cent invested in the U.S. market. Some of this year's winners have included Cadence Design Systems Inc., O'Reilly Automotive Inc. and Macrovision Solutions Corp.

CI Knight Bain Small Cap gained 14.6 per cent. The stocks of Bechman Coulter Inc., GMP Capital Trust and Liquor Stores Income Fund helped to boost returns before April 9th when the fund became 90 per cent invested in the iShares S&P/TSX Small Cap exchange-traded fund.

Given its small size, the fund's future is being reassessed, said CI Financial spokesman Murray Oxby. "We decided it would be more economical to hold an ETF...while this process takes place."

Mackenzie Universal North American Growth, which is 42 per cent invested in Canadian and 41 per cent in U.S. stocks, is up 10 year.

The fund, which is run by Ian Ainsworth, has been helped by currency hedging [only 20 per cent exposed to non-Canadian dollars] and winners in the oil sector. Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Schlumberger Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc. Petro-Canada, Ensign Energy Services Inc. and Shawcor Ltd. contributed to gains.

Stock markets have rebounded faster than Mr. Ainsworth expected. "If there is a correction, it will be a normal correction rather than one taking us to new lows," he suggested. "We are bumping around the bottom in the early stage of a bull market."

How North American Equity Funds Are Faring
May 21 Apr 30
(As of Apr 30) Latest YTD YTD % Annual Returns
Fund name Assets ($-mil) MER % rtn % rtn 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001
Trimark N Amer Endvr Class 7.9 2.91 19.3 24.4 -24.3 -20.9 10.1 -0.2 4.2 8.9 -33.3 -17.6
CI Knight Bain Small Cap-Cl A 0.2 2.26 14.6 7.0 -39.0 -8.3
Mackenzie Univ NA Growth Class 260.2 2.43 10.0 6.9 -21.8 12.0
BluMont North American 3.8 3.41 7.9 5.2 -30.6 6.3 6.6 20.9 9.1 22.5 -0.5 -1.5
Investors North American Equity-C 569.4 2.84 6.5 6.2 -30.1 -1.5 10.6 11.8 4.7 7.0 -17.4 4.2
Mackenzie Maxxum Glo Explorer Class 36.4 2.43 5.5 0.4 -31.8 -12.8 4.8 -0.5 8.3 10.7 -16.7 -9.0
SEAMARK North American Eq-A 4.8 5.6 -26.3
JOV Leon Frazer Dividend-A 10.2 2.47 4.3 0.9 -19.0
Desjardins Fn Pl Fiera NA Small Co 9.5 0.48 3.7 2.9 -34.6 -8.4 18.1 12.8 13.2 22.8 -14.5 4.0
Mackenzie Cundill American Cl 29.2 2.47 3.5 2.1 -38.7 -8.9 13.7 0.4 4.0
Mavrix Multi Series Glo Enterprise 0.3 1.97 3.1 11.3 -35.3
Mavrix Global Enterprise 5.2 2.92 2.4 10.7 -35.7 0.0 19.5 0.5 6.8 36.7 -59.0 -38.0
Middlefield U.S. Growth Class 0.9 2.52 2.3 0.3 -30.9 1.1 1.9 13.7 2.8 -1.2 -26.4
Batirente NA Small Cap Equity 2.0 2.3
CTI Palos Equity Fund RRSP 1.4 -4.6
Imperial Gwth North American Equ 0.3 1.62 1.0 -0.8 -29.0 -4.2 15.7 8.6 5.7 11.7 -21.0 -8.2
CTI Palos Equity Fund LP 1.0 -4.1 -29.8 15.5
London Life Smaller Company (MF) 36.0 2.94 -2.3 0.9 -16.2 -1.9 6.2 -0.1 9.0 9.8 -1.4
Mackenzie Ivy Enterprise 108.5 2.39 -2.3 0.9 -16.9 -0.8 6.7 0.3 9.9 10.9 -0.6 12.6
GWL Smaller Company (M) NL 4.8 3.01 -2.4 0.9 -17.2 -1.9 6.2 -0.4 9.4 10.1 -1.3 14.1
NexGen North Am Div and Inc-CG 0.0 2.65 -4.0 -5.1 -29.4 -6.9
RBC North American Dividend 127.8 2.00 -4.6 -3.2 -27.0 -3.6 15.1 20.1 11.7 21.5 -1.5
Mackenzie Univ Am Gwt (Unhgd) Cl 100.4 2.65 -5.3 -1.0 -0.5 -0.4 14.8 -1.2 13.3 10.4
RBC DS North American Focus 196.7 2.05 -6.7 -3.1 -31.2 4.5 9.2 3.5 4.2
TD North American Dividend-I 118.4 2.42 -8.2 -8.8 -24.3 -8.9 10.9 -1.6 0.6 5.5 -27.2 -5.5
BMO North American Dividend 56.2 2.43 -9.9 -9.3 -24.7 -8.1 20.8 15.1 12.8 14.4 -18.8 2.2
BMO GDN North American Div Ad Sr 0.0 -9.9 -9.3
ABC North American Deep-Value* 59.0 10.1 -56.6 -11.8 3.9 25.5
GBC North American Growth** 94.1 1.91 0.7 -26.2 -5.4 10.5 13.7 5.6 16.4 -25.0 -9.0
GWB Global Wealth Builder** 40.2 -1.1 -28.5 -9.1 7.5 13.8 16.9
BMO Nesbitt Burns Cdn Small Cap Index 13.9 -46.6 2.0 16.6 19.7 14.1 42.7 -0.9 3.4
Russell 2000 -1.8 -33.8 -1.5 18.3 4.6 18.3 47.3 -20.5 2.5
S&P 500 Composite -1.7 -3.4 -38.5 3.5 13.6 3.0 9.0 26.4 -23.4 -13.0
S&P/TSX Composite Index 10.7 3.8 -35.0 7.2 14.5 21.9 12.5 24.3 -14.0 -13.9
*Valued monthly;
**Valued weekly. GBC North American Growth up 1.5 per cent and GWB Global Wealth Builder up 2.3 per cent as of Tuesday.
SOURCE: GLOBE INVESTOR