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The good and mostly bad of rising interest rates

January 31, 2018

When a racoon leaps at you from the back seat, causing you to run your new car into a bridge abutment, people will always point out how lucky you are. Hey, the bridge didn't collapse on you! Good thing you had insurance! Thank goodness the raccoon...

Jump in or jump out? Advisers hear both sides in this market

January 30, 2018

Despite the sell-off Monday and Tuesday, the stock market's strength this year (and over the previous 12 months) has been breathtaking. Advisers are being hit with two questions: Should I cash in my chips? Or should I add more to the pot? It's...

11 funds that have beaten the market's long-term average gain — in less than a month

January 30, 2018

The U.S. stock market has gained an average 10.2% a year since 1926, according to Morningstar Inc. Thanks to the market’s meteoric rise this month, however, some equity funds have already beaten that average annual gain. Whether you sell them...

Wall Street can't derail the move to lower fees

January 30, 2018

The Vanguard Group is bringing down the cost of investing and there's nothing Wall Street can do about it despite its best efforts. Some financial firms are making it more expensive — and in some cases impossible—for their clients to buy...

The mutual fund men's club needs more women

January 30, 2018

By now we know that having more women on leadership teams enhances businesses. We also know that women have qualities that make them good investors, such as their approach to risk. Why then are there still so few women money managers? The figures...

Morningstar's new investment managers of the year

January 25, 2018

Morningstar Inc. announced its U.S. fund managers of the year, an honor it has been giving active managers since 1988. Past winners include Peter Lynch, former manager of Fidelity Magellan, as well as his successor, Jeff Vinik; Dan Fuss, manager...

Fidelity pushes Vanguard to compete on brand in 401(k) plans

January 24, 2018

Fidelity Investments' move to impose an additional fee on Vanguard Group assets is going to test plan sponsors' loyalty to the index-fund giant, according to retirement plan advisers, as employers are forced to choose between sticking with a...

New goal for ETF providers: Help advisers

January 24, 2018

As the ETF industry celebrates its 25th anniversary, exchange-traded fund launches remain strong. But the death toll is rising steadily, and ETF sponsors are focusing more on helping advisers understand their offerings than on pushing new ones...

Bond investors have more to worry about than a government shutdown

January 19, 2018

Bond yields have marched higher this year, and returns from bond funds have marched lower. Will a government shutdown make things worse? Probably not, provided it's a short-term problem. A bigger worry is a rise in overseas rates, which could...

BlackRock takes aim at sacred cow to bring factors to the masses

January 16, 2018

It's not enough for BlackRock Inc. to command one of every three dollars investors send to fund companies in America. Now it wants to control their minds, too. Operatives of the New York-based behemoth will be fanning out to brokerages around...

Are your clients ready for higher volatility?

January 12, 2018

If you have watched the market in the past 12 months or so, you may have noted a paucity of panic. A minimum of meltdowns. A deficit of drawdowns. And that brings us to today's topic: Is that worrisome? If so, is there a rational way to reduce...

Energy funds rally sharply

January 12, 2018

As the Standard & Poor's 500 soars higher, there's another bull market bubbling up: Crude oil. Black gold. Texas tea. But before you sell the shack and move to Beverly Hills, keep in mind there's a whole lot of oil still in the ground and offshore,...

Best-performing international ETFs in 2017

January 10, 2018

International markets woke from a multi-year slumber in 2017, aided by a declining dollar. Among developed markets, Austria (55%), Denmark (32%) and Singapore (31%) all beat U.S. stocks. And among emerging markets, investors were saying “Thank...

ETF assets boom in 2017

January 3, 2018

Investors aren't the only ones happy about 2017 returns. ETF sponsors are doing a happy dance, too. Net ETF issuance jumped to an estimated $473.2 billion last year, up 67% from $282.2 billion in 2016, according to the Investment Company Institute,...

Time to remind clients why they won't beat the Dow this year

December 28, 2017

As 2017 marches into history, most investors will agree: It was a pretty darn good year. But your clients might need to be reminded why they didn't beat the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index. As of Wednesday, the S&P 500 had clocked a 22.2%...

Some fund managers see heavy outflows despite solid performance gains

December 27, 2017

In the list of "Really unpopular occupations of 2017," active mutual fund managers rank somewhere below journalists and gravel sorters. Want an example? Consider Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX), run by Will Danoff since 1990. The fund is up 32.5%...

Morningstar sells Broadridge its board consulting services business

December 20, 2017

Morningstar Inc. has agreed to sell its board consulting services business to Broadridge Financial Solutions. The deal, which was announced Tuesday after the close of the stock market, is described as a way to expand the services that Broadridge...

Political ETFs have fair share of haters

December 20, 2017

Money managers have already tried to sell people exchange-traded funds linked to booze and over-eating. So it probably shouldn't come as a shock that they're moving on to an even touchier region of the American psyche — politics. Believe it...

Vanguard lags BlackRock in ETF sales

December 18, 2017

Vanguard Group is lagging BlackRock Inc. in ETF sales — but any sobbing you hear from the ETF industry probably isn't coming from the Malvern, Pa.-based behemoth. BlackRock's iShares welcomed $198.4 billion into its ETFs through November,...

Some ETFs, mutual funds invest indirectly in bitcoin

December 12, 2017

Two mutual fund companies own 43% of Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), currently the only fund that invests exclusively in the cryptocurrency. Kinetics Asset Management owns 27.27% of the outstanding shares of Bitcoin Investment Trust, while...

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