Birgit Kuester February 25, 2020 Mutual Fund
Understanding Mutual Fund Data Now that you know how to find mutual fund prices today, there is the matter of knowing how to read what it is that you have found. Funds are listed in alphabetical order, divided into columns underneath the name of the managing company. Your average newspaper will display three columns: in the first, you will see "NAV," short for net asset value.
This formula shows the value of the shares in that fund. The second column will be offer price, which is what an investor would pay that day to buy more shares. If a fund is no-load, you will see an NL in that column, meaning you would just pay what the NAV is. The last column is the change column. A plus sign here will indicate that the funds value has gone up since the previous day, and a minus sign means that it has declined.
Past performance can provide a good starting point, but nothing more. In fact, past performance predicts losers better than the winners. A 1998 study from fund-tracking firm Morningstar, demonstrated the top fund performers rarely hold their spot on the charts. The study also concludes bottom performers rarely did anything but continue to sink. Never assume the past will repeat itself, yet, ignore a fund`s historical record at your own peril. Avoid the perennial losers.
Make sure the management team has not changed by the way. You do not want to pay for fabulous past results only to find out there is a new portfolio manager in town running your mutual fund. Watch out for the fad funds by the way. By the time an entire mutual fund sector is hot, and ripping up the charts with performance, it is too late 90% of the time, for you to be an investor. You do not want start becoming an investor in gold as it passes $1200 per ounce. That is the time you want to be thinking about exiting, not entering.
Lipper Inc ranks its funds based on prior performance. The worse the performance the higher the rating to indicate a larger risk, the lower the rating the better the performance has been. The total return, preservation, consistency of the return, its tax efficiency and the expense are all factored in to determine the funds actual risks. This method should be more accurate in determining the actual risk and profit factor involved in the mutual fund.
Here is what I think you should consider doing. First unless you are a real expert, consider buying Index Funds, as opposed to investing in funds that carry a high load, or sales charge associated with them. If you pay a big commission, you simply have less dollars in the investment to work with. Studies show that for most mutual funds, the commission or load simply is not worth it. Do not let a good or even a great salesman talk you into a load fund, unless you have checked for yourself, that the returns over several different periods of time have been outstanding.