A Manning & Napier Advisors Inc. mutual fund beat the Standard & Poor's 500 for the 10th consecutive year, extending the longest current streak against the index by a U.S. mutual fund.

The Manning & Napier Pro Blend Maximum Term Series Fund, managed by a team in Rochester, N.Y., posted a 2008 loss of 38%, including reinvested dividends, but beat the S&P 500 by 1.7 percentage points in the worst year for stocks since the Great Depression.

Six other diversified U.S. stock funds entered 2008 with a nine-year winning streak against the S&P 500. All six underperformed the index last year.

Since 1999 the $322 million Manning & Napier fund has outgained 97% of funds with assets mostly invested in large-company stocks, according to Morningstar Inc. data. In the past decade the fund has gained an average of 5.4% annually, compared with a 0.9% annual decline for the S&P 500.

Manning & Napier has followed the same stock-choosing method since its founding in 1970: seeking companies that are cheap when measured by their estimated cash flow and earnings or have problems the firm perceives as temporary.

The record for outperforming the S&P 500 is held by the Legg Mason Value Trust fund, which beat the index 15 straight years from 1991 to 2005. The fund has trailed the index the past three years, posting a 57% loss for last year.

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