A few diversified funds deserve special mention, however:
•Forester Value FVALX has eked out a 2.9% gain through October. The fund couldn't find many stocks cheap enough to meet its criteria — at least until recently. Forester Value has gained 28% the past five years.
•Hussman Strategic Growth HSGFX looks for stocks that are cheap relative to earnings, but also looks at overall market action when it buys stocks. It's down 1.2% this year and up 23% the past five years.
•Heartland Value Plus HRVIX, another long-tem value fund, is down 11.1% this year, but it will be a good fund to own when the market turns around. It's up 40% the past five years.
Bear in mind that all of these funds are conservative by nature, and if another wild market bubble appears, these funds will probably miss it. On the other hand, when the next bubble pops, it's likely that these will be spared in the wreckage.
John Waggoner is a personal finance columnist for USA TODAY. His Investing column appears Fridays. new book, Bailout: What the Rescue of Bear Stearns and the Credit Crisis Mean for Your Investments, is available through John Wiley & Sons. Click here for an index of Investing columns. His e-mail is email@example.com.