Top 5 Equity Income Mutual Funds (Jan. 2011)

Investors looking for regular income flows and having the willingness to forgo capital growth often select equity funds promising income for their investment needs. The presence of both debt and equity income funds in a portfolio also increases diversification. Further, equity income funds provide a steady income stream from dividends which can go a long way in healing losses from falling stock prices. Equity income funds provide investors with a convenient method of holding a well diversified portfolio which generates a regular income stream.

Below we will share with you 5 top rated equity income mutual funds. Each has earned a Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) as we expect these mutual funds to outperform their peers in the future.

John Hancock Funds 2 Equity-Income 1 (JIEMX) seeks high levels of dividend income as well as capital growth. A substantial share of the fund’s assets is utilized to purchase common stock of prominent firms which provide substantial dividend income. The equity income mutual fund returned 8.12% in the last one year period.

Brian C. Rogersis the fund manager and he has managed this equity income mutual fund since 2005.

T. Rowe Price Equity Income (PRFDX) invests heavily in common stocks, with 65%of is assets utilized to purchase such securities issued by leading companies. Though it focuses on acquiring on domestic common stocks, it may also invest in foreign stocks, futures and options. The equity income mutual fund has a ten year annualized return of 3.97%.

The equity income mutual fund has a minimum initial investment of $2,500 and an expense ratio of 0.72% compared to a category average of 1.27%.

Fidelity Equity-Income (FEQIX) seeks income with a secondary objective of capital growth. The majority of the fund’s assets are invested in equity securities which generate significant income. It seeks to acquire large cap value stocks and purchases both domestic and foreign securities. The equity income mutual fund returned 7.44% in the last one year period.

As of November 2010, this equity income mutual fund held 198 issues, with 3.07% of its total assets invested in J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Parnassus Equity Income (PRBLX) invests at least 75% of its assets in equity securities which generate income from regular dividends. The fund holds a wide range of equity securities such as common and preferred stocks and related convertible securities. The equity income mutual fund has a five year annualized return of 5.86%.

Todd C. Ahlsten is the fund manager and he has managed this equity income mutual fund since 2001.

ING T. Rowe Price Equity Income (ITEAX) seeks total return. The fund utilizes a value approach to investing and focuses on purchasing common stock. It may also purchase convertible securities, warrants, preferred stock, futures and options. The equity income mutual fund returned 7.54% in the last one year period.

The equity income mutual fund has an expense ratio of 1.26% compared to a category average of 1.27%.

To view the Zacks Rank and past performance of all equity income mutual funds, then click here.

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