While the mega cap FAANG​ tech stocks have been leading the S&P 500 Index (SPX) into record territory this year, savvy fund managers have been doing even better by focusing on lesser-known names within the tech sector, the Wall Street Journal reports. The FAANG stocks include Facebook Inc. (FB), Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Netflix Inc. (NFLX) and Google parent Alphabet Inc.(GOOGL). For the year-to-date through Friday, these stocks were up 31.6%, 30.5%, 25.5%, 21.3% and 18.7%, respectively.

More Big Gainers in Tech

Meanwhile, Salesforce.com Inc. (CRM), a leading developer and seller of customer relationship management software, was up 28.4% for year-to-date through Friday. Cutting-edge electric car maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was up 46.5% through Friday, but peaked at a 79.4% gain through June 23. Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc. (JD) has gained 54.2%. All these are picks of top-performing fund managers, as detailed below.

Top gainers among tech stocks for the year-to-date through Friday also include: videogame maker Activision Blizzard Inc. (ATVI), up 61.9%, semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker Lam Research Corp. (LRCX), up 41.0%, chip maker Micron Technology Inc. (MU), up 37.8%, and NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA), a specialist in advanced chips for video games, also up 37.8%. As semiconductors become increasingly pervasive components in a variety of products, demand for them is strong. (For more, see also: Intel to Lose in Next 'Tectonic Shift': Jefferies.)

Leading Funds

The S&P 500 was up 8.3% through Friday, while the S&P North American Technology Sector Index (SPGSTI) index gained 17.5%, per S&P Dow Jones Indices. Meanwhile, the T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund (PRGTX) has soared 28.7%, excluding dividends, according to data from Morningstar Inc. cited by the Journal. In second and third place among tech funds are the Fidelity Advisor Technology Fund (FATIX) and the Fidelity Select Technology Portfolio (FSPTX). Minus dividends, these funds are up 27.7% and 27.68%, respectively, per the same sources.

Fund Managers' Picks

At the end of the first quarter, the T. Rowe Price fund had only 11% of its portfolio in FANG stocks (i.e., FAANG minus Apple), and holds no Apple shares at all, according to the Journal. Its biggest position is in Salesforce.com, and it recently sold its Tesla holdings, also per the Journal. Fund manager Joshua Spencer previously told Barron's that Salesforce.com is a beneficiary of the rise in cloud computing, adding that its shares may gain 50% over the next two years, as revenues have been growing at roughly a 20% annual clip. (For more, see also: Why These 4 Tech Stocks May Beat Apple, Facebook.)

By contrast, the five FAANG stocks constitute at least 25% of the two Fidelity fund portfolios, the Journal reports. Apart from the FAANGs, these funds also have put significant money into JD.com, Tesla and various chip makers. For JD.com, revenue more than tripled in U.S. dollar terms from 2013 to 2016, per Investopedia data. (For more, see also: JD or Alibaba: Which Is a Bigger Threat to Amazon?)