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Riding Out a Slump

April 11, 2006

Bill Nygren, manager of Oakmark Select fund, is a true superstar in the mutual fund constellation. Through 2005, his annualized return since launching the fund more than nine years ago was 19%, versus 8% for Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and 10% for the Russell 1000 Value index of large undervalued stocks. Our firm has long been a big fan of Nygren, and he is a sub-adviser to Masters' Select Value fund, for which Litman/Gregory is the adviser.

What's going on?

But Nygren's performance in the past couple of years has been relatively poor. Although Oakmark Select returned an annualized 14% over the past three years, it trails the Russell 1000 Value index by more than three percentage points annually and ranks in the bottom quartile of Morningstar's Large-Cap Value peer group. The more diversified Oakmark fund, which Nygren also runs, has done even worse.

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