mutual funds

For Investors, Defense Isn't Always the Best Offense

The market's recent volatility might make defensive investing seem appealing. But S&P Equity Research analysts caution that focusing too much on defensive sectors could have negative repercussions as well. Here's how to play smarter defense.

How to Play Defense in a Volatile Market

Equity investors have ample reason to be frustrated these days. The S&P 500 has hovered around 1,080 since mid-May, but it hasn't been a quiet ride. Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services, talks about how you can smooth out the bumps of short-term volatility.

Hedge Your Risk With Mixed-Asset Mutual Funds

With stocks underperforming so far in 2010, and Treasury bond yields low, too, Standard & Poor's Equity Research suggests investing in mixed-asset mutual funds, which hold a combination of stocks and bonds to capture the strengths of both asset classes with less volatility.

10 Signs Your 401(k) Plan Is a Clunker

Does your 401(k) plan provide investment advice? Probably not. Is the plan adviser a "real" fiduciary? Doubtful. Find out what the investment industry would probably prefer you didn't know about your 401(k)plan.

Why New 401(k) Fee Disclosures Fall Short

The Labor Department's new regulations don't deal with the core problems of this broken system. Disclosing revenue-sharing payments for mutual funds in retirement plans isn't nearly enough. They should be prohibited altogether.

401(k) Matching: Use It to Your Advantage

One of the biggest perks of a 401(k) is that most companies offer matching dollars. Although the amount of the match varies by company one thing is certain: It's free money, and that's something you never want to pass up.

The Big 401(k) Rip-Off May Finally Be Ending

A recent court decision could end a common investment industry practice that robs millions of 401(k) plan participants of higher returns by choosing funds with expense ratios that are some 40% greater.

Ask Your Broker the Question He Dreads

Here is the question your broker hopes you'll never ask: What about Bill Miller? The man once hailed as "the country's greatest mutual fund manager" for consistently beating the S&P 500 is now a Wall Street goat, and there's a vital investing lesson to be learned from his fall from grace.

Mutual Fund Makes a Fresh Start, Rises to Top

Portfolio manager Brian Stack used the crash of 2008 to revamp the Pioneer Growth Opportunities Fund, and since then, its performance has risen from the bottom of its peer group to the top.

Market Turmoil Sends a Signal: Diversify!

Investors have been reminded by the recent market meltdown of the need for diversification to reduce risk to their portfolios. How much risk is the right amount, and should you flee to gold as a safe haven?

Masters' Select: Diversification -- with Risks

The Masters' Select Equity Fund, managed by Jeremy DeGroot, aims to take a big decision off your hands by investing across five investment styles and cap sizes. But an investor in this fund would be exposed to one big risk -- active stock picking.

This Mutual Fund Rides the Web

At least one money manager believes companies that have business strategies that focus on the Internet can be some of the best investments for the future. But is an Internet-based fund a solid, long-term investment or a risky flavor-of-the-day trade that will succumb to an inevitable market meltdown?

Fund Focus: When Instinct Beats a Spreadsheet

Atlanta-based fund manager Marc Heilweil is an old-school investor who usually outperforms the competition by using his instincts -- not spreadsheets crammed with numbers -- to spot good companies at those rare times when they are trading cheaply.

Investing in Water Could Pour On the Returns

Thirsting for an interesting investment? Consider water. The precious resource could prove very lucrative over the next decade as its use in agriculture, industrial production and other areas surges. There are a few water industry stocks and mutual funds that could be good bets.

SEC Hypocrisy May Be Hurting Your Nest Egg

The SEC just settled a claim against the Quadrangle Group over an alleged pay-to-play scheme. Bad news: The fine is tiny compared to Quadrangle's assets. Worse news: While the SEC is busy with little issues like this, it ignores a $3 trillion pay-to-play scam that affects most Americans: 401(k) kickbacks.

Fund Focus: For Pro-Blend, Beating the S&P Is a Must

In 2008, the Manning & Napier Pro-Blend Maximum Term Series outperformed the S&P 500 Index for the 10th year in a row, but in the recent recovery, the fund is starting to fall a bit behind. Find out what stocks its clever portfolio managers are betting on to get back ahead of the curve.

Just Ignore These Funds' Triple-Digit Returns

Direxion Funds appear to be delivering stellar returns. But being leveraged ETFs also makes them extremely risky. Even a top Direxion exec warns individual investors to "not pay attention to our funds and forget they ever saw them." Here's why.

RS Small Cap Growth Returns From the Depths of 2008

After RS Small Cap Growth landed in the worst-in-class category in a rough 2008, portfolio manager Alison Thacker appears to be in the process of dragging it out. How it might fare in other crisis is an open question, but at least it's moving up again now.

Fund Focus: Investing in Troubled Manufacturers Pays Off

The Delafield Fund invests in the troubled manufacturers of Middle America, but it has more than doubled its clients' money over the past year. The fund has more than 46% of its assets in industrials, which is about triple the amount held by similar funds in the value universe.

DailyFinance Welcomes Michael Shari and 'Fund Focus'

To pick a great mutual fund, you really have to look at it through the eyes of the portfolio manager. In the end, it's not just about investment strategy. It's about execution. Fund Focus will delve into managers' strategies to help you make smarter choices.