The Individual Investor's Guide to The Top Mutual Funds 2012

The Individual Investor's Guide To The Top Mutual Funds 2012 Splash image

Mutual fund assets totaled more than $11.6 trillion on November 30, 2011, according to the Investment Company Institute. This is a slight decrease from December 2010, when assets totaled $11.8 trillion.

The total amount of assets shows the important role mutual funds continue to play in portfolios. Mutual fund assets exceeded exchange-traded fund (ETF) assets last year by a margin of 10 to one. A key reason for the continued popularity of mutual funds is that they give individual investors low-cost access to professional money managers. Mutual funds provide instant exposure to a wide variety of assets and investment strategies, including growth, value and income.

Mutual funds also remain a top choice for investors who want to mimic the performance of an index, a strategy known as passive investing. Though most ETFs follow passive strategies, Vanguard’s Total Stock Index (VTSMX) continues to be the largest index fund, exceeding even the popular SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) in size.

Fund Downloads
Expanded Fund Listings Spreadsheet
Field Definitions
Performance Tables Spreadsheet
Download Guide (PDF)

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Mark from California posted over 2 years ago:

The "Fund Downloads" files are linked to files from 2011, not 2012.

Dave from Washington posted over 2 years ago:

Great wealth of data here. Will take some time to digest. One possible suggestion for the future - could you put the "ticker" sysmbol in its own column.

Thanks for all the work in putting this together!

Jean from Illinois posted over 2 years ago:

Thanks for your comments, Dave. Ticker symbols do appear in their own column in the Expanded Fund Listings downloadable spreadsheet. Jean from AAII

Mark from California posted over 2 years ago:

When will the expanded spread sheet have the 2011 data incorporated for our use?

Charles from Illinois posted over 2 years ago:

Hi Mark, the issue with the spreadsheets has been resolved and they do include the 2011 figures. -Charles Rotblut, AAII

Anne from Ohio posted over 2 years ago:

I made a good faith effort to find the reference, but I could not find out what the heading "DFC" means. Any definition would be appreciated.

Jean from Illinois posted over 2 years ago:

DFC stands for difference from category. See the Field Definitions file in the Fund Downloads box for an explanation of all the column heads used in the expanded spreadsheet. Jean, AAII

William from Alabama posted over 2 years ago:

Will "hard copies" of the Mutual Fund Guide be mailed to members?

Charles from Illinois posted over 2 years ago:

William, yes. The February Journal, which contains the mutual fund guide, is in the mail. - Charles Rotblut, AAII

David from Minnesota posted over 2 years ago:

You really do a diservice to your readers by automatically excluding funds with loads, especially in the section on most widely held funds. I feel like you are the government and you must watch out for me in case I make the wrong decision. There are some load funds that perform very well and some that don't, just like the vast category of funds that have no load. I wish you would reconsider your view on this.

Indigo from California posted over 2 years ago:

The summary of these files is: over the last few years, and last year especially, bonds have outperformed stocks. People have been risk adverse, so have tended toward bonds or if in stocks at all, very "secure" categories like large cap, healthcare, and utilities. Gold has also done well.

The question really is, do we expect the next year or two to be just as scary as the last year or two? Personally, I think so. We are seeing a bullish environment right now, but with low participation. That to me creates an illusion of a bull market when really we still are in a bearish market. For buy-and-hold, I'd keep betting on the conservative investments for the next 1-2 years, though those who want to trade the market for short term gains are certainly making money so far this year and probably for a few more months.

Geri from California posted over 2 years ago:

On page 30/31 of Feb 2012 AAII Journal I
see two numbers that don't make sense.

For MGIDX "% of portfolio in foreign issues" is -3.2%. How can this be a negative number?

For PGNDX "% of portfolio in top 10 holdings" is
124.2%. How can this be more than 100%?

Frank from Mississippi posted over 2 years ago:

it's great if i was smart enough to comprehend.

Charles from Illinois posted over 2 years ago:

Hi Geri, if a fund is using leverage or is shorting certain assets, its holdings can be above 100% or be listed as a negative number. -Charles Rotblut, AAII

Thomas from New Mexico posted about 1 year ago:

I would like to know if it is possible to order this guide in book form, and if so how? Thanks, Tom Savage

Jean from Illinois posted about 1 year ago:

Tom, this guide was sent to all members as the February issue of the AAII Journal. If you weren't a member then, contact AAII Member Services to order the issue 800-428-2244, Alternatively, you can print out the guide yourself from the PDF file linked toward the beginning of the article on this page on the left side. - Jean, AAII

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