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. Financial Advisor

    How to Rate Your Mutual Fund Manager

    What to really look for when you're deciding on a mutual fund.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 ...
  5. 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.
  6. Investing

    Mutual Fund Basics Tutorial

    Learn about the basics - and the pitfalls - of investing in mutual funds.
  7. Investing

    Looking to Buy Mutual Funds Online? Here Is How

    Learn how to buy mutual funds online; discover which websites offer mutual fund trading services, how to choose a fund and typical fees.
  8. Investing

    When To Sell A Mutual Fund

    Unhappy with your mutual fund's returns and thinking of investing elsewhere? Read this article first.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How Can Trading Volume Exceed Shares Outstanding?

    The number of shares traded can be greater than the number of outstanding shares, but it's rare.
  2. Why Do a Reverse Merger Instead of an IPO?

    Reverse mergers are often the most cost-efficient way for private companies to trade publicly.
  3. Determining a Firm's Percentage of Credit Sales

    Find out where to look for information about determining a company's percentage of credit sales.
  4. What Does the Diluted Share Price Reveal?

    Learn how diluted share price affects earnings and the company's overall financial performance.
Trading Center