Tax-exempt vehicles set performance pace

Mutual funds investing in tax-exempt securities improved their performance in the six-month period that ended April 30, 1982, according to the Wiesenberger Investment Companies Service. The 44 funds' average gain for the period was a record for the group since Wiesenberger began keeping statistics on them in 1977 .

Dividend and performance records for the tax-exempts were up 5.8 percent, compared with a gain of 2.7 percent for 676 mutual funds covered. Further, the tax-exempt contingent was the only one of 12 groups to show an improvement over the performance in the previous tabulation.

Among the top 10 performers, three tax-exempt bond funds made the list for the first time. These were Vance Sanders Municipal Bond Fund, in third place among the leaders, with a gain of 10.1 percent from the previous six months; NEL Tax-Exempt Bond Fund, in seventh place, with a gain of 8.2 percent; and Fidelity Municipal Bond Fund, in tenth place, with a rise of 7.9 percent.

Otherwise, Wiesenberger said, the non-tax-exempt funds lost ground. Only 261 funds performed better than the Dow Jones industrial average, which was down 0.5 percent. Of the funds, 51 percent showed better performance than the Dow index, but this percentage was down from 77.1 percent in the previous month.

The top performers in the six-month period, in addition to the tax-exempts, included: Oppenheimer Target Fund, up 13.4 percent; IDS Progressive Fund, up 11. 3 percent; Fund for US Government Securities, up 9 percent; Franklin Custodian Funds' Utilities Series, up 8.8 percent; Quest for Value Fund, up 8.5 percent; and General Electric S&S Long Term Interest Fund, up 8 percent.

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