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First quarter mutual fund and stock results not so stellar

By Dian Vujovich

With the first three months of 2014 now behind us, investors might want to check their portfolios to see how their money-making efforts have paid  off.


Mutual fund investors can’t be crowing much. According to Lipper, year-to-date  performance figures through March 27( their official numbers aren’t out yet) show the average U.S. Diversified Equity Funds down 0.12 percent. I’ll call that basically flat.


Sector Funds, on average were up 2.9 percent with Commodities Ag. Funds and Precious Metals Funds skewing the results as both were up well over 12 percent.


World Equity Funds were down, on average over 1 percent and Mixed Asset Fund basically flat—up 0.66 percent.


To get any kind of crowing rights investors had to look at fixed-income types  of funds. Domestic Long-Term Fixed Income funds had average returns of 1.8 percent and World Income Funds, 1.76 percent.


Move into the world of equities and the fine folks at Bespoke have published the first quarter’s 40 best- and worst-performing stocks in the Russell 3000.


The average stock in that index was up 28 percent and the entire top 40 had gains of more than 55 percent. Intercept Pharma (ICPT) hit it out of the park gaining the most, up 388.8 percent. If that stock sounds tempting, buyer do your homework first—it’s a hugely volatile play.


All of the top five performers were bio-tech stocks and all up over 100 percent. For instance, InterMune (ITMN) ranked second and was up 128.8 percent. Behind it, Endocyte (ECYT), Furiex Pharma (FURX) and Horizon Pharma (HZNP).


Move to the downside of the Russell 3000 and Bespoke wrote that of the “2,987 stocks in the Russell 3,000 that were trading at the start of the year, 1,338 were down YTD.”


All of the 40 biggest losers were off more than 30 percent. The three companies loosing the most in per share price during the first quarter of 2014 include Body Central (BODY) down 69 percent, American Apparel (APP) off 60 percent, and Fairway Group (FWM) down 58 percent.


While investing could be called The Game of No Guarantees, it does have its rewards so invest carefully, my friends.


The Bespoke list of best- and worst performing Russell 3000 year-to-date visit: http://tinyurl.com/mfn3fom.

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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