End-of-the-year Investment Check-up
- Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman
It's a good idea to compare how your investments have performed against the averages. If you've done slightly above or below the averages, there's no need for concern. But if you're lagging behind the averages for a few years, it may be time to make some changes.
The average stock fund gained 26 percent over the last year as of mid-December, according to Morningstar Inc., Chicago. Over the past three years, the average stock fund has grown at just a .8 percent (eight-tenths-of-one percent) annual rate. Here are other averages as of mid-December:The average international stock fund has grown 27 percent over the last year. Over the past three years, it has grown at a -6 percent annual rate.The average precious metals fund grew 72 percent over the past year. Over the past three years, it's grown at a 42 percent annual rate.The average technology stock fund grew 39 percent over the past year. Over the past three years, it's grown at --24 percent.The average bond fund has grown 9 percent over the past year. Over the past three years, it has grown at an 8 percent annual rate.
Here is a list of the top no-load mutual funds, based on performance over the last two years, according to the The No-Load Investor, a New York-based newsletter. The list excludes precious metals funds.ING Russia Fund, up 51 percentUS Global Resources, up 48 percent.CGM Realty, up 45 percent.Alpine US Real Estate, up 43 percent.Fidelity Leveraged Company Stock, up 37 percent.Oberweis Micro-Cap, up 36 percent.
Do these numbers give you an idea where your investments stand? Before you sell any funds, be sure to check with your tax or investment advisor. Get a second opinion. And take steps to limit your income tax bite. You may be able to offset investment gains with investment losses.
Alan Lavine and Gail Liberman are husband and wife columnist and authors of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Making Money With Mutual Funds, (Alpha Books).
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