Chart Reading

 

As an investor you will want to check out any equity before you buy it. Many investors go to Morningstar that is one of the largest providers of mutual fund information in the world. It is assumed that their information is correct. After all that is what you are paying for.

Recently the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) called them on the carpet for not correcting an error within a reasonable time (whatever that is according to the SEC). Everyone makes errors and this was no big deal.

It seems that when you went to their site and drew up a chart or asked for statistics on Rock Canyon Top Flight mutual fund it failed to notify the potential buyer that the fund had issued a very large dividend of approximately 25% and the NAV (Net Asset Value) dropped from $15 to $11 to reflect the $4.00 dividend.

It seems that when you ask for a chart of this fund on MarketWatch, Yahoo, TheStreet or Bloomberg that they only post the NAV and do not make any adjustment for the dividend or capital gains distributions. When you look at the chart it looks like the fund fell out of bed. Because I look at so many charts I knew immediately that this was a distribution and not some calamity. To be sure it is very simple to call the fund to verify this.

Every fund that makes dividend and capital gains distributions usually does so in December, some in November and very few at other times during the year.

Some nitpicker called the SEC and made a complaint about Morningstar. Not that I am a big fan of them (in fact I think their reports are worthless) they get their price information from other sources such as the above. If you are not familiar with the requirement of mutual funds to disburse their profit before year end you might be fooled when you see the price suddenly drop.

This is important for potential investors. I caution everyone to get a chart of at least a one year performance of any mutual fund before buying it. It is better to go back to year 2000 to see if the fund manager was able to keep from losing money during the last 4 years. Almost none of them could so they talk about how they did better than the S&P500 Index which had a huge loss. Don't fall for that one.

Once again I caution that any purchase should have an exit plan. One of the basic rules of investing is never to lose a lot if you are wrong. Small losses will not ruin your portfolio, but big losses can ruin your retirement. Set your loss limit and stick with it. For some it might be 5%, others 10% or more, but have an exit strategy or you will go broke.

The secret of the stock market that Wall Street does not want you to know is that success in the market is not buying it is selling.

Copyright 2005

 



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