A:

The easiest way to find out the price of a mutual fund is to look at its net asset value (NAV). NAV is the total value of a mutual fund's assets, less all of its liabilities. Many mutual funds use this number to determine the price for transacting units of the fund. When you buy and sell mutual funds, you typically do so at the NAV.

For most mutual funds, the NAV is calculated daily since a mutual fund's portfolio consists of many different stocks. As each one of these stocks may be changing in price frequently throughout the day, an exact value of a mutual fund is difficult to determine. Thus, mutual fund companies have chosen to value their portfolio once daily, and each day this is the price at which investors must buy and sell the mutual fund. The exact valuation technique may vary from fund to fund as some may use an average of the last three traded prices. All mutual funds, however, set a valuation of their NAV once a day.

In the case of an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is an index fund that trades like a stock, the NAV is first determined when the fund is created, and then market forces determine the price of the shares of the fund. Typically, the NAV of an ETF will be relatively close to the market price of the fund; however, there may be instances when the price is higher or lower than the NAV.



RELATED FAQS
  1. Why is it that when investors realize returns on a mutual fund, its price tends to ...

    Mutual funds have been in existence since 1924, when the first open-ended mutual fund was created. Since then, the market ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. 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.
  2. Investing

    The Advantages Of Mutual Funds

    Learn how to get diversification, liquidity and professional management at an affordable price.
  3. Investing

    Are Mutual Funds A Relic?

    We list some options other than mutual funds for your retirement plan.
  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. Financial Advisor

    How to Rate Your Mutual Fund Manager

    What to really look for when you're deciding on a mutual fund.
  6. Investing

    Trading Mutual Funds For Beginners

    Learn about the basics of trading and investing in mutual funds. Understand how the fees charged by mutual funds can impact the performance of an investment.
  7. 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.
  8. Investing

    How liquid are Fidelity mutual funds?

    Review the liquidity features of mutual fund shares and an overview of Fidelity mutual funds. Most investors look for convenient access to their investments.
  9. Investing

    The Advantages and Disadvantages of Mutual Funds

    As with most investments, mutual funds have both advantages and disadvantages.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Mutual Fund

    An investment vehicle, overseen by a money manager, that is made ...
  2. Forward Pricing

    Forward pricing is an industry standard for mutual funds developed ...
  3. Mutual Fund Yield

    Mutual fund yield is a measure of the income return of a mutual ...
  4. Mutual Fund Custodian

    A mutual fund custodian is a trust company, bank or similar financial ...
  5. NAV Return

    The NAV return is the change in the net asset value of a mutual ...
  6. Investment Fund

    A supply of capital belonging to numerous investors that is used ...
Hot Definitions
  1. Covariance

    A measure of the degree to which returns on two risky assets move in tandem. A positive covariance means that asset returns ...
  2. Liquid Asset

    An asset that can be converted into cash quickly and with minimal impact to the price received. Liquid assets are generally ...
  3. Nostro Account

    A bank account held in a foreign country by a domestic bank, denominated in the currency of that country. Nostro accounts ...
  4. Retirement Planning

    Retirement planning is the process of determining retirement income goals and the actions and decisions necessary to achieve ...
  5. Drawdown

    The peak-to-trough decline during a specific record period of an investment, fund or commodity. A drawdown is usually quoted ...
  6. Inverse Transaction

    A transaction that can cancel out a forward contract that has the same value date.
Trading Center