The Stars — and Fallen Stars — of 2008

Kiplinger’s Fred Frailey looks this week at how some of the world’s top money managers got hammered by the recent market crash, as well as at how other noted managers lived up to their reputations and avoided the plunge.

According to Frailey, some of 2008’s big-name losers have been Legg Mason’s Bill Miller (down 59% as of Oct. 30); Longleaf Partners’ Mason Hawkins (down 47%); Oakmark Select’s Bill Nygren (down 36%); Selected American’s Chris Davis and Ken Feinberg (down 36%); Ron Muhlenkamp (down 37%), and Dodge & Cox Stock (down 41%). These former value stars found out “that too many of the stocks they deemed undervalued were actually overvalued” this year, Frailey says, pointing to Miller’s bet on Freddie Mac and Nygren’s bet on Washington Mutual as examples.

On the other hand, Frailey says, big names who lived up to their billing include John Hussman, whose Hussman Strategic Growth was down less than 2 percent through Oct. 30; Wintergreen’s David Winters, whose fund is down a good deal but nowhere near those of other heavily international funds; and Fairholme’s Bruce Berkowitz. Both Berkowitz and Hussman did well in side-stepping financials before the crash, Frailey says, adding that Hussman also had no money in energy in mid-2008, shortly before energy stocks plunged. (Note: It looks like both Hussman’s and Berkowitz’s funds have underperformed since the Oct. 30 end-point Frailey used.)