1. Mutual Funds: Introduction
  2. Mutual Funds: What Are They?
  3. Mutual Funds: Different Types Of Funds
  4. Mutual Funds: The Costs
  5. Mutual Funds: Picking A Mutual Fund
  6. Mutual Funds: How To Read A Mutual Fund Table
  7. Mutual Funds: Evaluating Performance
  8. Mutual Funds: Conclusion

Mutual fund data is easy to find and easy to read. The most common method of accessing the information used to be via a mutual fund table in the newspaper, but now this information is more commonly found online. (For more on finding the right information, check out Data Mining For Investors.)

Online
Websites provide significantly more data about a given mutual fund than a fund table does. Yahoo Finance, MSN Money and all of the major mutual fund companies provide robust websites filled with fund information.

The following basic details are usually provided: fund name, net asset value, trade time (provides date for last price), price change, previous close price, year-to-date return, net assets, and yield. With a just a few clicks of the mouse you can also view historical prices, headlines news, fund holdings, Morningstar ratings and more. (Learn how to use this data in Analyzing Mutual Funds For Maximum Return.)

Newspaper Fund Table
By providing key data points, mutual fund tables give an overview of a mutual fund's performance for the past 12 months in relation to its current price. They also provide insight into how the fund's price per share has changed over the course of the most recent week.

However, with the high prices of newsprint, declining readership, and increasing adoption of technology, many newspapers are cutting back on the space allocated to mutual fund tables. This is particularly true where smaller and less popular funds are concerned. Going online or calling the fund company directly may be the only way to get information about these products.

What Do You Need?
The wealth of information available can be daunting. What do you really need to know? Where can you go to find it? How much detail is too much? The answers to these questions largely depend on how you plan to invest. If you are looking to day trade, for example, information about daily pricing trends may be critical to your efforts. If you plan to buy and hold for decades, long-term performance information, fund expense ratios, and the management team's history are probably enough. Fund fact sheets and a copy of the fund's prospectus are available on most fund company websites. These documents generally provide all the information long-term investors require to make decisions. (To learn more, check out January: Time To Read Your Mutual Fund's Annual Report.)


Mutual Funds: Evaluating Performance
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What You Need to Know About Mutual Funds

    Mutual funds are a good investment opportunity, but investors should know how they operate.
  2. Financial Advisor

    How to Rate Your Mutual Fund Manager

    What to really look for when you're deciding on a mutual fund.
  3. Financial Advisor

    Advising FAs: Explaining Mutual Funds to a Client

    More than 80 million people, or half of the households in America, invest in mutual funds. No matter what type of investor you are, there is bound to be a mutual fund that fits your style.
  4. Investing

    4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Mutual Funds to Invest in

    Mutual funds are a great way to build wealth but not all of them are the same. Investors have to be mindful of fees, turnover, redundancy and performance.
  5. Investing

    Are Mutual Funds A Relic?

    We list some options other than mutual funds for your retirement plan.
  6. Investing

    When To Buy A Mutual Fund

    There is money to be made in mutual funds, but investors fall into several pitfalls that keep them from maximizing their profits. Read these tips to take the uncertainty out of investing in mutual ...
  7. Investing

    Mutual Fund Basics Tutorial

    Learn about the basics - and the pitfalls - of investing in mutual funds.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What are the Differences Between Affiliate, Associate and Subsidiary Companies?

    All three of these terms refer to the degree of ownership that a parent company holds in another company. Read on to find ...
  2. What Does it Mean if the Correlation Coefficient is Positive, Negative, or Zero?

    Learn what the correlation coefficient between two variables is and what positive, negative and zero correlation coefficients ...
  3. What's the Difference Between a Market Economy and a Command Economy?

    Set by supply and demand, a market economy operates through a price system; in a command economy, governments control the ...
  4. What Factors Cause Shifts in Aggregate Demand?

    Find out how aggregate demand is calculated in macroeconomic models. See what kinds of factors can cause the aggregate demand ...
Trading Center