Mutual Funds

Index Funds

Why do some experts believe in investing in indexes instead of investing in individual stocks?

Many experts, some of whom contributed their knowledge and opinion in a recent Forbes article, cited several longitudinal studies of investment performance of key index investing and the performance of actively managed mutual funds that may invest in individual stocks and other investment vehicles. The experts found, during the period 1984 to 2002, mutual fund managers, who regularly have staff and expert assistance in identifying and investing in stocks, generated a return of approximately 9.3% compared with an average annual return of 12.2% for the S&P 500 index. Another study, cited in an article published by Morningstar, analyzed the performance of all mutual funds, selecting only the top 30 funds to study and dividing their time period of analysis from 1976 to 2002 into five four-year windows in order to find out how many funds that were doing well for four years also were doing well during the subsequent four-year period. What they discovered was that while the top thirty funds generated returns of 28.3% during the first four-year period, these same funds dropped out of the top list in the next four years, and only averaged returns of approximately 1.8%.


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