Faced with one of the worst quarters for total return in the last five years, mutual fund managers said yield-curve positioning, proper credit selection, and risk aversion in the first quarter of 2008 were key to achieving top rankings - even as the universe of tax-exempt mutual funds totaling $131.7 billion was plagued by a negative 1.89% cumulative results for the three-month period ending Mar. 31, according to new data from Lipper Inc.

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