Which are the best performing equity funds of 2020

Pharma, smallcap, international and technology oriented funds ruled the roost in the year bygone

Staff Writer   /   January 9, 2021
mutual fund

The year 2020 produced some dramatic moments in the markets. If stocks were brought to their knees in March, by the next 6 months they were standing tall. Equity fund managers had their work cut out. The buy-and-hold investing approach was tested, as much as the momentum-based approach. Mutual fund investors had a great year, because they sat back and watched the happenings from the sidelines as investment managers toiled hard to bring home returns. Don’t forget there were many opportunities. Here are the best performing funds of 2020 as per each category. We have excluded categories with a drastically low number of peers.

Pharma category

Pharmaceuticals and healthcare have been the theme to play in 2020. Naturally, equity mutual funds that bet big have won big. All pharma funds fared well. The three best in the category for 2020 were: 

  • • DSP Healthcare up 76.62%
  • • Mirae Asset Healthcare up 73.66%
  • • ICICI Pru Phd up 71.12%.

Smallcap category

After quite a few months, smallcaps regained their mojo. Good smallcap firms showed that they can run tight ships despite a Covid-ravaged global economy. Naturally, smallcap equity funds that had those stocks did exceptionally well. Here are the best schemes of 2020 in this category

  • • Quant Small Cap up 74.84%
  • • BOI AXA Small Cap up 52.07%
  • • Principal Small Cap up 38.32% 

International funds

Global equity funds usually don’t perform when domestic equity funds do well. But this was 2020 and many hitherto held rules were broken. The best performing ones in this category are:

  • • PGIM India Global Eq. Opportunities up 72.14%
  • • Edelweiss Greater China Equity Off-shore up 57.03% 
  • • Motilal Oswal Nasdaq 100 ETF up 51.34%

Tech titans

With social distancing being the norm, technology reliance became part and parcel of lives. Technology firms, additionally, enjoy high margins, great balance sheets. This attracted investors and so tech equity schemes benefitted a lot in 2020. The 3 best in this category were:

  • • ICICI Pru Tech up 70.34%
  • • ABSL Digital India up 58.83%
  • • Franklin Technology up 56.57%

Midcap mania

Both smallcaps and midcaps, after the correction in 2018, did not find feet in 2019. But the sharp correction early in 2020 made investors look at midcap funds favourably later. Larger than smallcaps but nimbler than large caps, midcap stocks performed this year. The three best midcap equity MFs of 2020 were:

  • • PGIM India Midcap up 48.23%
  • • Quant Midcap Fund up 41.89%
  • • UTI Midcap Fund up 32.57%

Tax saving funds

Equity-linked saving schemes or ELSS are very popular tax saving avenues. Usually run as diversified equity funds, they corner a chunk of inflows each year due to tax saving capacity. With equity funds doing well in 2020, ELSS saw good gains notched up by schemes. The top 3 ELSS were:

  • • Quant Tax Plan up 46.77%
  • • BOI AXA Tax Advantage up 31.10%
  • • Parag Parikh Tax Saver up 28.11%

Multicap Funds 

Multicap funds saw some changes in 2020 in terms of portfolio allocation due to Sebi rules. Yet, performance wise they have are quite reasonable despite many challenges. Multicap equity schemes also serve the duty of being the very first fund categories any new investor experiments with. In 2020, the top ranked multicap funds were: 

  • • Quant Active Fund up 43.41%
  • • PGIM India Diversified Eq. up 35.76%
  • • Parag Parikh Long Term Equity up 32.19%

Large Cap funds

Though midcap and smallcap funds did great in 2020, large cap funds were not left behind by a distance. Though gains were moderate, still some of the large cap funds came up with spirited performances. In the pure-play large cap category, passive schemes dominated performance:

  • • Nippon India ETF Shariah BeES up 37.62%
  • • Nippon India ETF NV20 up 26.16%
  • • SBI ETF Quality up 25.53%

Large & midcap funds

In the blended large and midcap space, the 3 best were:

  • • Quant Large & Midcap up 28.74%
  • • Axis Growth Opportunities up 24.63% 
  • • Canara Robeco Emerging Eq. up 24.47%

Thematic funds

Thematic funds bet on individual sectors or themes in a concentrated way. Here are the top performers for various thematic categories.

Consumption theme:

  • • Quant Consumption up 47.27%
  • • Nippon India Consumption up 24.84%
  • • Tata India Consumer up 20.91%

Broad thematic space

  • • ICICI Pru Commodities up 38.76%
  • • Kotak Pioneer up 32.99%
  • • Taurus Ethical up 28.05%

Infrastructure segment

  • • Quant Infrastructure with 32.19% 
  • • BOI AXA Manufacturing & Infrastructure up 27.99% 
  • • Invesco India Infrastructure up 16.10%

Value oriented and contra funds 

  • • SBI Contra up 30.51%
  • • ICICI Pru Value Discovery up 22.8% 
  • • Invesco India Contra up 21.11%

Dividend yield equity schemes 

  • • IDBI dividend Yield up 24.28% 
  • • Templeton India Eq. Income up 22.87%
  • • Principal Dividend Yield up 20.18%

Banking theme

The year 2020 was not a good year for bank bulls. The 3 best performers had very modest gains:

  • • SBI Banking & Fin. Services up 4.82%
  • • Sundaram Fin. Services Opp. up 2.69%
  • • Tata Banking & Fin. Services up 2.67%

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