Top Charting Web Sites

Posted on October 14, 2014 | Investing

The FreeStockCharts site (formerly BestFreeCharts) is a relative newcomer to the online charting arena, but has already made quite an impression on us. From Worden Brothers, the maker of the popular TC2007 charting software, the site offers charting, scanning, and portfolio tracking on a free and fee-based basis. The site is unique in that it offers free streaming “real-time” charts of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), indexes, and forex (foreign exchange) without exchange fees. It does this by providing real-time data from the BATS (better alternative trading system) exchange.

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How Should PIMCO Fund Shareholders React to the Departure of Bill Gross?

Posted on September 26, 2014 | Investing, Quarterly Mutual Fund Update
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“Bond king” Bill Gross is leaving PIMCO, a company he co-founded, to join Janus Capital Group (JNS). Our mutual fund guide shows Gross as the lead manager on eight PIMCO mutual funds. Our exchange-traded fund (ETF) guide shows Gross as the lead manager on one PIMCO ETF. The Closed-End Fund Association’s website shows Gross managing two close-end funds. It is possible that there are institutional funds that Gross manages as well. A list of funds managed by Gross that are readily available to individual investors is displayed below.

If you own shares in a PIMCO fund managed by Gross, the big question is what should you do now? In situations when a manager leaves, the best move can be to sit tight and monitor the situation. If the fund(s) still meets your criteria for buying it, then don’t make a kneejerk reaction. Rather, see who takes over the fund and how that manager (or group of managers) performs relative to their category peers. Though likely to be less outspoken, the new manager(s) may prove to be as talented as or even more talented than Gross. They could also be worse. Until actual results begin to appear, nobody knows with any certainty how the funds will perform.

I realize that the advice to sit and monitor the situation can seem tough to follow. If you are uncomfortable doing so, go through the data in our fund guides. Look at the long-term performance of comparable funds, paying attention not only to the recent top performers, but also to those funds that have been able to best their peers over several years without experiencing considerably higher levels of volatility in their year-by-year returns. When doing this, be aware that bond market conditions going forward are likely to be different than they have been over the last five or 10 years. Pay attention to manager tenure, since the returns of a past manager don’t tell you how the new manager will perform. Don’t forgot to review the expense ratios as well, since every dollar spent on fees is a dollar you will never see again.

PIMCO Mutual Funds Managed by Bill Gross:

  • PIMCO Fundamental IndexPLUS Absolute Return (PIXDX)
  • PIMCO StocksPLUS Absolute Return (PSTDX)
  • PIMCO Small Cap StocksPLUS Absolute Return (PCKDX)
  • PIMCO StocksPLUS Absolute Return Short Strategy D (PSSDX)
  • PIMCO Low Duration (PLDDX)
  • AMG Managers Total Return Bond (MBDFX)
  • PIMCO Total Return (PTTDX)
  • PIMCO Unconstrained Bond (PUBDX)

PIMCO ETFs Managed by Bill Gross:

  • PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND)

Closed-End Funds Managed by Bill Gross:

  • PIMCO Corporate & Income Opportunity Fund (PTY)
  • PIMCO High Income Fund (PHK)

Online Discount Brokers

Posted on August 8, 2014 | Investing

As a member of AAII and reader of Computerized Investing, chances are that you perform a significant amount of investing on your own. Though individual investors still call full-service brokers to place trades, many have now switched to fully using online discount brokerages. These online brokers have a number of advantages over “traditional” brokers, such as cost and convenience, and they are constantly evolving and improving. Most online discount brokerages charge $10 or less per trade, but there are some online deep discount brokerages that charge just a few dollars per trade.

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Offbeat Offerings: Mortgage-Backed Securities

Posted on May 20, 2014 | Investing

The current housing market decline, increasing mortgage defaults and the financial struggles at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have shined a spotlight on a particular fixed-income product that is often not particularly well-understood by individual investors—mortgage-backed securities.

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Where Credit Is Due: A Look at the Ratings

Posted on April 4, 2014 | Investing

There are many factors that individuals must consider when making investments in fixed-income securities. Current bond yields, current bond prices, and current as well as future interest rates all may have a big impact on the return of a fixed-income investment.

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The Dividend Yield: Stock Mutual Funds and ETFs That Generate Income

Posted on February 26, 2014 | Investing

Are you looking for an investment that has the potential to produce a growing income stream and long-term capital appreciation along with reasonable risk? Bond funds won’t suffice; their income is a prisoner of prevailing interest rates, and their capital appreciation in the long term is essentially zero, a combination that is exposed to inflation risk.

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How to Set and Revise Realistic Price Targets for Your Stocks

Posted on February 6, 2014 | Investing

An investor over time attaches some validity to his or her initial price objective, meaning that modifying that expectation becomes difficult for reasons totally contained only between one’s ears.

But stocks go where they want to, despite what any participants think is justified and despite what investors might wish would happen. Investors unable or unwilling to let go of original price opinions are doomed to lose, either through losses in positions that never come back, and/or from better opportunities elsewhere that have been lost.

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Taking Aim at Your Retirement: A Look at Target Date Mutual Funds

Posted on June 5, 2013 | Investing

There is an appealing simplicity in the concept of target date funds that has a strong attraction for investors: Just pick a year, and lean back—your portfolio management is now on autopilot, with coordinated diversification among the major asset classes that is rebalanced periodically toward your estimated time of arrival, your target date.

But while the concept of the target date fund has a justified appeal to a broad range of investors, making the right choice among the many target date fund offerings and understanding how the funds work is not quite as simple as it appears at first glance.

The Risk/Growth Dilemma

Target date funds are built on the assumption that investors who are farther from their target retirement date should have higher allocations to stocks, and that the stock commitment should decrease as the target date approaches. Thus, funds with an earlier target date will start out with a lower stock allocation than funds with a later target date, but all of the target funds within a family will decrease their commitment to stocks as the target date approaches.

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Market Barometers: A Look at Stock Indexes and How They Work

Posted on May 8, 2013 | Investing

You may not need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.

But in the financial world, you do need a stock market index to know which way the stock winds are currently blowing. That’s why the broad market indexes are quoted daily by virtually every media source as a barometer of the state of the overall market.

How do these market indexes work and what are they telling you?

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State-Based Exchange-Traded Funds

Posted on April 9, 2013 | Investing

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are continuing to prove themselves as ever-present and almost chameleon-like in their ability to take on many new forms as a perceived need arises. The latest additions to the ETF world are state-based ETFs.

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