Incredible Statistic: Mutual Fund Performance


“Out of almost 2,100 diversified retail U.S. stock mutual funds that are
open to new investors, just 17 have positive returns for both the past 12 months and year-to-date, according to investment researcher Morningstar Inc.”

That’s amazing.




Up and away: Eaton Vance’s Tooke is that rare stock-fund manager still in the plus column
Jonathan Burton
MarketWatch, 5:22 p.m. EDT Aug. 27, 2008

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  1. fudged_numbers commented on Aug 28

    As Jeff Saut says, this is a trader’s mkt. Investors (like me) are having a tough time of it this yr. Even Heebner (CGM) is down so far YTD for Focus fund, I believe. Good year for a good FoF, commodities, and cash… We may see some improvement up to Nov. elections, but I’m in the J. Grantham camp in that I don’t expect improvement until 2010. So goes housing, so goes the nation… Good luck to all. ps: CPI & Q2 GDP are obviously fudged. Need accurate metrics.

  2. karen commented on Aug 28

    well, maybe the $10 trillion yen stimulus pkg just hitting the wires and soon to be unveiled will help. i’ve long thot that nobody can print like the Japanese.

  3. Concerned Citizen commented on Aug 28

    Oh! wait until the baby-boomers hear this next month!

  4. Concerned Citizen commented on Aug 28


  5. VennData commented on Aug 28

    Yeah, but they said it was going to be a stock picker’s market twelve months ago, didn’t they? And twelve months before that, and before that… and over the last twelve month’s I’d wager that at least once a month – nay – once a week, somebody said this is a stock picker’s market. But it never, ever is.

  6. BG commented on Aug 28

    Concerned Citizen,

    I agree. I am selling into strength as I speak. I think when the traders get back from the Holidays it could get ugly. I am thinking we are entering a period where a person can make money by not losing money. I may be wrong; but, I can not stomach the risk that I see not only for the remainder of this year, but into next year as well.


    This Post makes me feel better. I am strictly in the capital preservation mode; so, it looks like I am doing a lot better than most of MF Managers at the moment and I’m sleeping like a baby.

    BTW, if you still have that bridge, I believe you could sell that sucker this afternoon. Let me know how much you get for it. :)

  7. leftback commented on Aug 28

    More happy talk on CNBC.

    Maria just had a technician on – talking up a rally to 1360 because “there is no significant resistance until the 200DMA”.

    Apart from the 1300 level we are bumping up against right now, you mean? Churning under resistance is usually Bearish…

    She also said that “consumer discretionary” was going to be the leading sector. If this forecast turns out to be correct I will self-immolate in the middle of Times Square.

  8. C. Fischer commented on Aug 28

    The amazing part is that anyone still invests in mutual funds, especially actively managed ones.

    It pisses me off that I have no choice to do so with my 401k.. although most of that is in a money market fund right now.

  9. BG commented on Aug 28

    Well, drink a cold one with me.

    I am OUT.

  10. karen commented on Aug 28

    Any theories on who the buyers are on what might be the lowest volume day of the year so far?

    Today was quite a feat, i will admit… getting the spx to close over 1300 and the dow over 11700.

  11. MarkTX commented on Aug 28


    (Looking at a DOW daily chart)

    was the DOW pinned high all day long or is it
    just my imagination.

    Of course all major indexes trended up for
    the day and ended at their high.

    Pakistani stock market anyone????

  12. constantnormal commented on Aug 28

    In the words of that great trader, Lord Keynes,

    “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”

  13. Steve Dallas commented on Aug 28

    The 401K mutual fund setup is really frustrating. Those managers have the easiest jobs going. To me the most important part of managing money is market timing and non of them do it. That leads the hardest parts of investing to client; market timing. The ideal mutual fund is one that allows that manager to be unlimted short or long. Mutual fund managers, stock analysts, etc. there all worthless.

    Does anyone know how much money you need to open an account with Dougie Kass? I emailed his company through the website a couple of times but no response. Come to think of it I emailed Barry’s company about a new account and got no response.

    So I can’t get in with Ritholtz or Kass and I’m left with these worthless mutual fund managers. Grrrr

  14. DL commented on Aug 28

    Just goes to show how totally worthless the opinions of “long-only” money managers are in a bear market.

  15. MarkTX commented on Aug 28

    In the words of that great trader, Lord Keynes,

    “Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent”

    Posted by: constantnormal | Aug 28, 2008 4:14:59 PM

    The big problem right now is that this holds true whether you are in the market or
    out of the market!!!

    They can and will get you one way or another.

  16. Renting in Mass commented on Aug 28

    That’s hilarious. Actively managed mutual funds are a joke. I agree with the poster who complained about being forced to put 401k money into funds managed by these schmucks. Just give me index tracking ETFs! At least when they go down I’m not paying 1.5% for some loser to shuffle stuff around.

  17. leftback commented on Aug 28

    I bet there are 2100 nice yachts out there.

    You would think that you could do pretty well just by being broadly invested in an index or sector MINUS the companies that everyone in the world with a brain knows are

    If you eliminated those with a broken business model (LEH), about to be bankrupt (WaMu), or those that were run by blatant crooks (CFC) or idiots (FNM) and those with an outmoded product (PALM), you could easily avoid some of the worst losses. By eliminating 10-20 of the S and P 500 you could probably do well every year.

  18. DL commented on Aug 28

    Renting in Mass @ 4:29:29 PM

    I suspect that most 401K managers are selected on the basis of who provides the biggest kickbacks to the host company.

  19. DL commented on Aug 28

    Steve Dallas @ 4:23:37 PM
    “Does anyone know how much money you need to open an account with Dougie Kass?”

    I suspect it’s like buying a yacht. If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it.

  20. karen commented on Aug 28

    leftback, hahaha on your theories (although you might be on to something with your banks buying banks.) and thanks for the housingwire link; that certainly explains why SRS was down today :)

    I, too, am sorry for anyone with a 401K mutual fund set-up; another government directed ponzi stock market scheme, imo. (somehow FNM and FRE just popped into my head.) One day you will be able to roll whatever is left into a self-directed IRA.

  21. The Sturgeon commented on Aug 28

    Who was buying today?


    People who dont know any better?

    And as for it being a “feat” that the Dow closed over 11700 and the SPX over 1300… doesnt look like much of a feat at all. I’d say from the tape we’ve seen for the past three sessions, the people smart enough to short arent doing so for a good reason: You dont short a dull market… Plus, the senior traders at the big houses, well, we know where they are, hamptons jokes aside. The rest of us traders who dont fight the tape are just biding our time, waiting for the moment to present itself. The moment looks like its here, as both SPX and DJIA are being hit square in the face with a double whammy: resistance @ 50 day MA + resistance at the dominant trendline… Throw in the QQQQ, which was leading and now has totally stalled, and I think we’ve got the makings for a wonderful September short. Just check the falling volume on the recent “rally off the bottom”, some of it seasonal yes, but the charts dont lie. Its almost beautiful in its architecture, the short set up we have here, if you’re any shred of a technician.

  22. Rob P. commented on Aug 28

    The Federal employees “401k” is the TSP. You have 5 funds to pick from in it, ranging from pure bond fund to the typical common, small cap (so to speak), to international (which actually tracks the S&P better than the common stock one and doesn’t track international markets!!!) Of course this is the savings program for each federal employee so we’re talking serious money. A couple of months ago, they shoved a new mandate down our throats that says you can only move your money twice a month! Another method of trying to control the volatility and running for the doors.

  23. Steve Dallas commented on Aug 28

    DL @ Aug 28, 2008 4:50:37 PM

    “I suspect it’s like buying a yacht. If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it.”

    I hear. Ya can’t knock a brother for trying.

    Time to go home cook up some of those garden tomatos with garlic and open a nice bottle of wine or two. The man has got enough of me today.

  24. winslow commented on Aug 28

    From every comment I read on this site and others, I think it might be time to get out of the US stock market forever. (by the way, we led the world into this dowmturn)

  25. Jon H commented on Aug 28

    “That’s hilarious. Actively managed mutual funds are a joke.”

    I worry though that if everyone just sets up their 401ks with index funds, then the indexed stocks will rise not because of their fundamentals, but because of the unrelenting inflow of money into index fund accounts.

    That can’t be healthy.

  26. Mark E Hoffer commented on Aug 28

    Posted by: Jon H | Aug 28, 2008 7:02:02 PM


    what else, do you think, is financing the S&P 500-ization of the Economy?

    Nothing more that the ‘font of the perpetual bid’–Index/Mut Funds

  27. Smokefoot commented on Aug 28

    The only mutual fund I own is one of the 17! Hussman uses options to stay market-neutral, with a little additional defense in times like right now with an overbought market in a bearish climate.

  28. jack commented on Aug 28

    this most definitely means the market will continue to rally, after all, the best time to buy is when it’s down. are you waiting for all funds to be negative?

  29. investorinpa commented on Aug 28

    Barry, could you find out what the similar statistic is for ETF’s for the year? I am curious to see if ETF’s are outperforming mutual funds. Also, of the 17 that beat the “no return” or better category, is there a common theme to those funds?

  30. ben commented on Aug 28

    Steve Dallas

    I do not think Kass’ fund is open to new investors. Something tells me if it were you would not qualify or not have enough to get in. My guess is almost anyone who posts here besides BR and David R from ML would. Remember you have to be an affluent investor to get in a real hedge fund.


    we led the world in the downturn? last I checked there were MANY international markets down far further than the US ytd and over the 12 mo trailing. not sure if you meant we caused it or we were down more, either way it’s not an accurate statement.

    overall, lots of really ignorant posts on this one, is anyone at all surprised by this??? the market is down over the last 12 and of course ytd, everyone knows that the VAST majority of managed funds underperform the market both short and long term my guess is the 17 funds doing well have less stringent rules in the the prospectus but don’t fear, they will all get burned one year and then get slapped with a class action suit. why do I say this, check the performance of TAGRX, Tim Keefe killed it in there last year was doing well this year and then quit because they didn’t like the way he was managing the account because of the “risk” he was taking.

    As for the 401k complaints, use a stable value fund or a total bond fund if you hate the equitie options so much, I highly doubt many people here, if anyone doesn’t have these types of options. You can then move from those when you “see signs” as many of you will, since that is always written on here, that the market is getting better. If you don’t like that option find out if your employer offers a non-penalty in-service distribution, roll it then to an IRA and then you can buy what you want, so you can all outperform these fund managers and then buy your own yachts.

    good luck, this market is wicked for everyone

  31. Just Sayin commented on Aug 28

    A month and a half of gains in the S&P…

    Summer snooze by the smart guys?

    Ready to shred after Labor Day?

  32. ct commented on Aug 28

    I’ve tried to remain open-minded for years and recent months but today’s data and action forced me to submit to the belief that financial markets are effectively controlled and basically fascist in the US.

    It’s a sad day when I must believe that China may have the most real, transparent and best markets for the future.

    The whole US empire can’t collapse fast enough.

  33. ben commented on Aug 28


    Selecting a 401k has nothing to do with kickbacks, it’s all about cost.

    The reason many of you have so few funds to choose from or the reason why your Fidelity 401k only has Fidelity funds in it, is because it costs the company way too much money to offer other or more alternatives. The sad truth is the reason most 401k’s suck is because of all the paperwork required just to have one, which of course equals very high costs to have and admin. the plan. This is on top of the fact that many companies allow the HR team to pick the available funds.

    lucky for me I’m self employed and manage my own SEP.

  34. ben commented on Aug 28


    You cannot be serious about that comment on china right? You could have picked any number of markets but china?


  35. D.L. commented on Aug 28

    The Sturgeon @ 5:43:52 PM

    I’m with you on this one.

    (I bought some TWM near the close today).

  36. roger commented on Aug 28

    I find that a little amazing, seeing as America is in a big boom! I think that if you investigate, all the mutual funds are being led by whiners and Obama babies. But if they were led by stalwart number magicians, who we can be so proud of today for their epic, their mythical 3.3 percent growth figure, they’d be swimming in gravy! Or at least they’d change their accounting books by shifting a few unimportant numbers and get us to the record profits we so richly deserve.

  37. stan commented on Aug 29

    And who might those 17 managers be?
    Names that would surprise, or names that should be expected to be there?

  38. Jerry commented on Aug 29

    Seventeen of them? Wow.
    Sucks to be us right now, doesn’t it? It almost leads me to believe that it doesn’t matter who wins the forthcoming election… at least in this regard. There’s absolutely no insurance that there will be any appreciable change at all.

  39. Josh commented on Aug 29

    So 0.8% have bean positive? It really shouldn’t be that hard. Talk about following the herd.

  40. zackattack commented on Aug 29

    It’s been hard, hard work for a while.

    Every one of those violent reversals you get, you had to have held your nose and bought the most unappealing thing from the day before. Every drop, you have to have been short something dangerous.

    That’s too hard. No one is that good. I think the best the individual investor can do is catch a tiny piece of the short-term moves via the index products, using the oscillators at extremes.

    I feel like you have to be willing to take single-digit gains when you have them.

  41. BrianH commented on Aug 29

    I see Michael Franti and Spearhead is on the record list. They are amazing live.

    I’ve often wondered about this topic. I see all these mutual funds and hedge funds making dick squat for years on end. Meanwhile I’ve been paying my investors a 10-12% yield for a few years now and have the hardest god damn time raising money.

    To me it makes no sense however image is everything and people want their money with the yacht camp and not the modest lifestyle, quiet type.

  42. RG commented on Aug 29

    Does this look similar to the sept 78 area on the chart? Looks like there was a divergence in and around that time as well before it collapsed

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