How to Find the Value and Performance of Mutual Funds

By Stephanie Powers

  • Overview

    There are over 10,000 mutual funds available to American investors. If the purpose for viewing value and performance is to choose a fund, use third-party websites or brokers to narrow down the most appropriate funds for your needs. If you already know which fund you want information on, the mutual-fund company's website usually contains the most up-to-date information.
  • If You Already Know the Mutual Fund's Name

    • Step 1

      Find information about a specific mutual fund using its name or the mutual-fund company name and if possible, the symbol. Mutual funds have stock-exchange symbols that are normally five characters long. Websites that offer stock quotes also offer quotes on mutual funds. The quote will show the current price while the market is open and the ending day's price after the market closes. Some newspapers, such as The Wall Street Journal, list mutual-fund prices along with stocks. The websites allow a fund-symbol lookup based on the name of the fund or fund company. Historical prices may also be available.

    • Step 2

      Read the mutual fund prospectus. Prospectuses are booklets that describe the mutual-fund company, the mutual fund and the latest performance data, as well as any fees, the investments inside the fund, and the objective of the fund. Mutual-fund companies provide online or paper versions of prospectuses. Brokers who sell mutual funds are required to provide prospectuses to those who are inquiring about buying. Prospectuses are normally printed annually, but updates are generated quarterly.
    • Step 3

      Use third-party websites to find information about mutual funds. Organizations like Morningstar offer unbiased analysis of mutual funds. The organization has its own set of established benchmarks and analysis methodologies that are widely recognized in the industry. Some data on the website is free, but registration is required. Other, more detailed information is available for a fee. The website allows users to either look up specific mutual funds or screen the universe of funds available to find the one that meets the user's needs; the site also designates its own "fund of the day." Third-party sites allow comparisons of multiple mutual-fund companies and their opinions about the funds. They also provide timely industry information. These sites allow you track funds over time.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: If you already own the mutual fund, the fund company is required to provide a statement indicating its value and performance at least annually. If you are not receiving a statement, contact the fund company to update your address.
    • Warning:
    • Mutual-fund value and performance data carry this disclaimer: "Past results are not necessarily indicative of future performance."

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