The Best Social Index Mutual Funds

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Socially responsible investing is not a new concept but it is one that is gaining popularity among investors. While these funds may carry higher operating costs, they promote social awareness and support specific causes, such as climate change and green living. If you're interested in becoming a socially responsible investor, there are quite a number of social index mutual funds to choose from.

Domini Social Equity Fund

The Domini Social Equity Fund (DSEFX) tracks the Domini Social 400 Index. A no-load growth fund, the DSEFX invests in large- and mid-cap U.S. companies such as Johnson & Johnson and AT&T. While net operating expense is high at 1.20 percent, the fund has consistently outperformed the S&P 500 since 2002.

Calvert Social Index Fund

A large-growth fund, the Calvert Social Index Fund (CSXAX) measures returns against the Calvert Social Index, which tracks large- and mid-cap stocks. The fund is no-load and carries a relatively low operating expense ratio at .75 percent. In 2009, the fund had a 34.11 percent average return.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund

With a low expense ratio of .31 percent, the Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund (VFTSX) is a large-growth fund investing in large- and mid-cap domestic equity stocks. The fund tracks the FTSE4Good US Select Index and experienced a 35.12 percent rate of return in 2009.

KLD Select Social

The KLD Select Social Index Fund (SSI) is a large-cap growth fund that tracks the FTSE KLD Select Social Index. The net operating expense is .50 percent and in 2009, the fund saw an annual average rate of return of 30.36 percent.

S&P Global Consumer Discretionary Sector Index

The S&P Global Consumer Discretionary Sector Index Fund (RXI) tracks the S&P Global Consumer Discretionary Index. A large-cap growth fund, the fund carries a net operating expense of .48 percent and saw an average return of 40.49 percent in 2009.

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