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Past five years DJIA in mid-10,000 but years not so hot for making money

By Dian Vujovich

Looking back there’s not a huge difference between the level the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at on Friday, July 16, 2010 and its closing level on July 15, 2005. Other than the fact that five years ago it closed at 10,640 and Friday’s number was more than 500 points lower. Okay, not so close but nonetheless, so much for making money over time.

BTW, there’s nothing special about the date, it just happens to be the one I’ve chosen this month to review a couple of things– like how many of the Dow stocks closed under 20 bucks a share and how mutual funds have performed thus far this year.

While looking back five years was more for my curiosity than anything else it did give some credence to the old proverb, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

On that note, it’s still the same four companies whose share prices haven’t made it past 20 dollars. They would be Alcoa (AA) at $10.41, Bank of America (BAC) at $13.98, General Electric (GE) at $14.55 and Pfizer (PE) at $14.56.

As an aside, BP closed Friday at $37.10. A few weeks back it was trading around 30 bucks a share. Nice move for a company that’s cut its dividend and caused a beyond belief environmental and human disaster. But as long as individuals, shareholders, boards and corporations care more about making money than they do human beings and environmental life, money will always be the name of the game. And when money rules everything else might as well be damned.

Back to the numbers: AP reported that for the year (through 7/16/10) the DJIA is down 3.2 percent, the S&P 500 down 4.5 percent and Nasdaq off 4 percent.

Equity funds, as you might imagine, have been flat this year. For example, the average U.S Equity fund was off 0.3 percent through Thursday, July 15, according to Lipper. (In case I’ve never mentioned it before, Lipper does all of its weekly reporting based on closing Thursday prices.) Like the rest of the market, look back five years and the average equity fund has returned pretty much nothing— 0.09 percent.

If you’re looking for double -digit returns, the only fund category with that kind of showing falls under the Sector Equity heading and happens to be Real Estate funds. For the year, the average Real Estate fund is up 10.4 percent; 52-weeks ago the average fund in this category was up well over 58 percent; five years ago similar to the market and down about one-quarter of a percent.

And there you have it. Not much to crow about today,but hey, that’s the market for yah.

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