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Eleven Down, One To Go

By Dian Vujovich

With the bulk of the year behind us, 2008 will likely go down in investing history as one that couldn’t end soon enough.

Here’s a look at what’s transpired on Wall Street thus far:

Looking at recent good news, Black Friday may not have produced all that retailers had hoped for, but most U.S. stock indexes did have a good day and an even better week, as the Dow scored its biggest five-day percentage rally since Aug. 8, 1932; the S&P 500 since March 16, 1933, according to AP reports.

During the month of November, the picture wasn’t as rosy, as the Dow fell 5.32 percent, the S&P 500 lost 7.48 percent, NASDAQ dropped 10.77 percent, and the Russell 2000 lost 11.98 percent of its value.

Year-to-date figures through that same month reveal that NASDAQ had the honor of being the greatest percentage loser, it was down 42.10 percent; followed by the S&P 500, off 38.96 percent; then came the Russell 2000, down 38.23 percent; and the Dow, off 33.44 percent.

As for mutual funds, the average U.S. diversified equity fund lost more than 39 percent through Nov. 26, according to Lipper.

Staying within the mutual fund arena, assets have dropped big time this year. Lipper reported that on Oct. 31, mutual funds had $9.5 trillion in assets. That’s 21 percent less than the $12 trillion they held at the end of May.

For history buffs, the folks at Lipper began tracking fund data in 1959. Since then, the two years with the biggest drops in fund assets were in 1973 and 1974, when they fell 20 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

On the positive side, word is that fund fees on actively managed funds are expected to fall in coming years. Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later. Fund investors need all the performance help they can get.

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