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

    The Best Free Mutual Fund Research Providers

    There is no lack of information for advisors on mutual funds. Getting the right sources (at the right price) can be as easy as a few clicks away.
  4. Financial Advisor

    5 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Mutual Funds

    Learn five of the "secrets" about mutual funds that can have a significant impact on mutual fund choices and investor profitability.
  5. Investing

    The Benefits of Picking Mutual Funds Over Individual Stocks

    Learn about the advantages of investing in mutual funds rather than individual stocks, including the benefits of affordability, oversight and diversification.
  6. Investing

    Top 5 Websites for Finding Mutual Fund News (MORN, TRI)

    Discover the five top websites for finding mutual fund news, data and tools for researching the best mutual funds for current investment.
  7. Investing

    The Advantages and Disadvantages of Mutual Funds

    As with most investments, mutual funds have both advantages and disadvantages.
  8. Investing

    Trading Mutual Funds for a Living: Is It Possible?

    Find out why trading mutual funds for a living isn't your best bet, including how funds discourage short-term trading and which options may better serve you.
  9. Investing

    A Guide to Mutual Funds Trading Rules

    Make sure to review this guide on the dos and don'ts of mutual fund trading before you invest, including how trades are executed and which fees to look out for.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How do I find historical prices for stocks?

    Historical stock prices help investors evaluate a company's performance in the public markets over time, and can be a valuable ...
  2. What is the history of the S&P 500?

    Discover the history of the S&P 500, which sophisticated market participants consider to be the best index to understand ...
  3. What is the formula for calculating weighted average cost of capital (WACC) in Excel?

    Learn about the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) formula and how it is used to estimate the average cost of raising ...
  4. Where do most fund managers get their market information?

    Many fund managers, whether they manage a mutual fund, trust fund, pension or hedge fund, have access to resources that the ...
Trading Center