Issues

Note: Issues prior to Nov. 2006 in PDF format only; prior to Nov. 1997, scanned from hard copy.

April 2014

April 1, 2014
PDF

Rational Expectations

Has the stock market suddenly become more rational? High-flying biotechnology stocks gave up 10.6% of their gains in March, and the hot market for initial public offerings (IPOs) cooled off as King Digital Entertainment tumbled 19.2% from its $22.50 offering price. The Dow remains 0.7% off its Dec. 31 record close, while the S&P 500 index did post a new high on Mar. 7 before backing off 0.3%. Hopefully, investors' expectations have ratcheted down a bit as a result.

Either way, it's time in the markets, not market timing, that matters. Don't believe me? Check out the story of Disciplined Dave and Hapless Harry in this month's issue. A little discipline can go a long way toward closing the gap between fund returns and investor returns. Which brings us to my next point: If you haven't funded your IRA yet, do it now, so you don't suffer from the "procrastination penalty" a recent Vanguard study discussed. Then help your kids and grandkids get in the act with their own Roth IRA. Not sure which fund to start them with? I've got a few suggestions in the issue, plus an interview with Don Kilbride of Dividend Growth and a look at the management changes Vanguard has made at Selected Value.

Read More

March 2014

March 3, 2014
PDF

Vortex Generator

February began with dire predictions about the state of the markets, yet it ended with good gains as the S&P 500 and various small- and mid-cap indexes hit all-time highs. So are you going to listen to all those people telling you, “As goes January, so goes the year”? I wouldn’t, and I’ll show you why in the issue.

But that’s not all you need to watch out for. With the bear market of 2007 to 2009 almost entirely wiped from the record, five-year returns are shooting through the roof. These numbers mean nothing, and you are better off ignoring them. Where do the best values lie now? I’ll tell you in this month’s Funds Focus, covering Vanguard’s growth and income funds. As for those who’ve asked when to get started with my Model Portfolios, my answer is simple: There is never a better time than now, because it’s time in the market that matters, not market timing. Read More

February 2014

February 3, 2014
PDF

Starting With a Jolt

Investors are nervous about keeping the gains earned in the five years since the market bottomed in 2009, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 5.3% from the all-time high established on the last trading day of 2013 and the 10-year Treasury’s price rallying 3.5% in January. But the increasing volatility in stocks is what I’ve been warning about for some time now. I could give you lots of stats, but consider that in the first month of this new year, there were six days in which the Dow saw intraday moves greater than 200 points. In 2013, there were 23—for the entire year.

In this issue, I’ll give you some further perspective on the market’s increased volatility. Hint: The key to success is time in the market, not market-timing. Also, for those of you nearing or starting retirement, Research Director Jeff DeMaso and I have a look at another strategy we couldn’t fit into the December issue. In this case, the theory seems good, but I’m not sure it would work so well in practice. For the more adventurous among you, as promised, we have our full update on the Hot Hands strategy, but like I said before, this year I’m sitting it out. Whatever you do, though, be sure to keep a close eye on your Vanguard accounts. I’ve been noticing some odd things on their website, from minor inexplicable return discrepancies to instructions that mysteriously went unexecuted. By the way, some of you asked for clarification on the Average Vanguard Investor Index. I’ve got the details for you in the issue. Read More

January 2014

January 2, 2014
PDF

Eye of the Taper

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014. While I wouldn't put too much stock in the punditry that inspired my newly christened Roubini Award, everyone's got to have an outlook. I'll tell you what mine is for 2014 in this month's issue. But unlike most of the prognosticators out there, I'll also remind you what I said in the same space one year ago–even where I got it wrong–in my annual Report Card. Plus, I've got a recap on the major events of 2013, which might help put Total Stock Market's 33.3% gain and Total Bond Market's 2.3% loss in perspective. For Vanguard, the past year was a pretty big one, with several longtime managers leaving; a slew of funds launching, reshuffling their share classes, or merging out of existence; and a fair share of fund closings and reopenings, too. As for this year, I'll bet some of you are wondering what the 2014 Hot Hands fund is. If you missed the earlier announcement in today's Hotline, I've get a reminder in the issue. But whether you're following this momentum strategy or not, don't forget to save for the long term. I'm funding my IRA for 2014 today, and you should, too. Read More

December 2013

December 2, 2013
PDF

All Atwitter

Is it the year 2000 again, or is it 2006? Social network and microblogger Twitter went public on Nov. 7 at a pre-market valuation of $18.1 billion, then saw its stock promptly soar 72.7% on the day and trade over 117 million shares. Are we witnessing another tech bubble à la 2000? And when you focus in on the Dow Jones Industrials, the “volatility” we’re experiencing (or lack thereof) looks a whole lot like 2006. I would hate to see investors lulled into the market by the relative complacency with which we've been hitting recent highs. My admonition to you: Please keep expectations in check.

Speaking of expectations, nobody knows just what their retirement will be like, but this issue has my tips for how to live on your well-deserved earnings during retirement. One thing I can tell you off the bat: Once you set your course, stay disciplined. On the same topic, I have an Interview with John Ameriks, a 10-year veteran at Vanguard who currently leads the active equity team but is also one of the firm’s experts on retirement. He has some opinions on some of the very same strategies I mention in the article on retirement. And, of course, as promised, I have more for you in this issue on the October Hot Hands strategy, one of my proprietary momentum-based strategies that has beaten the market over the long haul. Read More

November 2013

November 1, 2013
PDF

Keep Expectations in Check

The stock market didn’t fall in September, and it didn’t fall in October. In fact, it hit record highs, with Total Stock Market Index posting an 8.0% total return over the two months alone. So much for the gloom-and-doomers and the “Sell in May” crowd. But a word of caution is in order. With October 2013’s end, five-year returns will now be completely rid of the horrific month of October 2008, and the numbers are soaring. Don't be fooled—these point-in-time numbers do not tell you how the typical investor did, and the next five years will not look anything like the past five.

October was also a big month for Vanguard, which announced it is phasing out Signal class shares in favor of Admiral shares and merging redundant and unsuccessful funds, including some of the Tax-Managed and Managed Payout funds, out of existence. Unfortunately, the merger of U.S. Growth and Growth Equity doesn't appear to solve any problems for their shareholders. You can find my pro forma analysis of what the combined portfolio will look like in the issue. As for the ongoing rollout of the Affordable Care Act, how has the picture for Health Care changed? Check out my interview with manager Jean Hynes for her take. And speaking of changes, International Growth is losing a manager to PIMCO. If you missed my update on that or the October Hot Hands fund, I've got a recap of both for you in the issue. Read More

October 2013

October 1, 2013
PDF

Tale of Three Markets

In spite of its reputation as a bad month for stocks, speculation over Fed tapering, and dire warnings of a government shutdown, September made mincemeat of the pundits' predictions that it would be "losses all around." Stocks gained; bonds gained; and investors who tried once again to time the market got their heads handed to them. If September taught any lessons, it was that you shouldn't set your investment course by the speculation that defines the daily news cycle.

That said, volatility may be rising in the coming weeks. In this month's issue, I've got a 10-step program to help you prepare and overcome any queasiness you feel. While Vanguard announced its own answer to volatility in the new Global Minimum Volatility fund just before month-end, I think there are much better ways you can deal with it. And if you're searching for income, I don't recommend the latest fad of "unconstrained" and "strategic income" funds being touted by the industry. Research chief Jeff DeMaso put together some pretty compelling statistics on what's been going on in this universe, and it's not pretty. Nor is the lack of commitment in Explorer shown by Vanguard's board of directors and fund managers. Vanguard thinks their system of piling manager on top of manager works just fine. I think they're nuts. But I'll give you the stats and let you decide. Read More

September 2013

September 3, 2013
PDF

Taper-on, Taper-off

Funny, but for all the talk of "risk-on" and "risk-off" earlier this year—as Europe's markets and economies were teetering on the brink, backing away and then pushing to the edge again—I haven't heard anyone talking about "taper-on, taper-off." But that's what's been driving the markets of late, and in the perverse logic that only Wall Street can conjure, strong economic news, which should be good for stocks, instead suggests Fed tapering, and stocks sell off. My bet's on no taper in September at all. Nonetheless, I expect both bond and stock markets to become more volatile as we head into September. (And no, I don't expect more market mayhem akin to the Nasdaq's 3-hour trading halt.)

In this month's issue, I delve into Vanguard's large-cap growth fund options with my comments on each. Opportunity remains here, thanks to comfortably average valuations and investors neglecting the asset class, but check your expectations at the door. I've also got my thoughts on how Vanguard multi-management strategy has impacted Explorer's fortunes, as Vanguard beefs up the number of sub-advisers on the fund further. And speaking of sub-advisers, it's been a year since Vanguard said goodbye to AllianceBernstein, and in the issue I review how performance on its former funds has been in that year. And finally, as I promised in the August 29 Hotline, I have more to say about my trade out of GNMA. While our foray into GNMA didn't go as planned, if we step back and consider the Model Portfolios as a whole, rather than focus on any one position, they are generating strong returns. Despite this misstep, my philosophy of "buying the manager, not the fund" will continue to serve us well in the years ahead. Read More

August 2013

August 1, 2013
PDF

Valuing Knowledge

I've been telling you our economy was growing, albeit at a slower-than-desired pace, for years now, and the GDP report issued at month-end offered up plenty of evidence that indeed that's the case. More important than the GDP report, though, was the Fed's latest statement. Expectations in the bond market have undergone a sea change now that the prospect of tapering is on the table, and interest rates are on the move. We could see a lot more volatility in the bond and stock markets next month as Congress returns from vacation, giving our fund managers opportunities to pick up some bargains.

In this month's issue, I've got a review of each member of Vanguard's stable of aggressive stock funds, including one old favorite that isn't so aggressive anymore. I believe there are still gains to be made here–particularly if you have a long time horizon. I've also got an in-depth review of Windsor's comeback, including an interview with Jim Mordy, the manager of Wellington Management's portion of the fund. You'll also find a recounting of the first five years of Total World Stock Index (don't mind me if I don't bring an anniversary present) and a response to a subscriber question about Vanguard's dividend-focused funds. Read More

July 2013

July 1, 2013
PDF

Taper Caper

Wall Street's "shoot first and think things through later" mentality was in full flower during June, as stock and bond markets fell in concert following Fed chief Ben Bernanke's press conference on the 19th. Over four days, the stock market dropped about 3.5%, and Treasury bond prices lost about 3.4%. You and I have had a pretty detailed conversation about bonds and bond funds over the past several months, so you already know my general take on them, plus my ratings for Vanguard's taxable bond funds. This month, let's focus on municipal bonds, also known as "munis," or tax-free bonds.

Also in this month's issue, if you missed our month-end trades in the Model Portfolios, I've got a recap of those for you, plus an interview with Virginie Maisonneuve, manager of International Growth. And for those of you who've been asking how to help your children or grandchildren get started with an IRA, I have an update on retirement investing for young investors. Just don't get taken in by Vanguard's bone-headed "research" on multi-management, which concludes unsurprisingly but unconvincingly that "there are no dramatic differences in median performance between the two management structure categories." Read More

June 2013

June 3, 2013
PDF

Big on Bonds

Bonds got battered in May, as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury jumped from 1.67% at the end of April to 2.13%, and prices dropped. Hardest-hit were long-duration funds like Extended Duration Treasury ETF, which tumbled 9.8%, while short-term funds held up best, with the ultra-short Short-Term Tax-Exempt falling just 0.1%. I hope your greater knowledge about bonds and interest rates from the Bonds 101 series we've been running for the past couple of months helped you understand and weather the fairly rough sailing.

Following up on the first two parts of the series, this month's is also big on bonds, including updates on all of Vanguard's taxable bond funds as well as its foray into foreign bonds with Total International Bond Index and Emerging Markets Government Bond Index, both of which finally began trading by month's end. Whether you should buy them, though, is another story. See my feature article on these funds for more. Whatever you do, beware of reaching for yield. Investors who do so often ignore the other side of the total return equation–namely, capital risk. Research Director Jeff DeMaso put together a pretty compelling example for you this month showing how a lower-yielding investment can actually give you the same monthly income, with far less risk. Read More

May 2013

May 1, 2013
PDF

Old Ghosts

From David Stockman to Reinhart and Rogoff, and the Boston Marathon bombing to a piece of wreckage from 9/11, old ghosts came back to haunt investors in April. Yet both the Dow and the S&P 500 went on to new highs during the month and closed up 1.8% since March. The rising stock market combined with falling interest rates set up an intriguing dynamic, as the top two funds represented both ends of the spectrum, with Telecom Services up 8.3%, and Extended Duration Treasury ETF up 7.3%. I wouldn't recommend either, as they're far too narrow and risky. (Check out Part II of my Bonds 101 series for more on the risks of the bond market.) And if you're looking for a store of value, I don't think you're going to find it in gold, or Precious Metals & Mining. In spite of political and financial tumult across the globe, both fell about 9% during April, and remain far below their all-time highs.

Also in this month's issue, if you missed my advice on what to do about Capital Opportunity's reopening, I've got a recap for you, along with updates on South Korea's place in Vanguard's index funds, ongoing fee waivers at its money funds, and a solution to the bond market index problem Jack Bogle's been talking about. Read More

April 2014

April 1, 2014
PDF

Rational Expectations

Has the stock market suddenly become more rational? High-flying biotechnology stocks gave up 10.6% of their gains in March, and the hot market for initial public offerings (IPOs) cooled off as King Digital Entertainment tumbled 19.2% from its $22.50 offering price. The Dow remains 0.7% off its Dec. 31 record close, while the S&P 500 index did post a new high on Mar. 7 before backing off 0.3%. Hopefully, investors' expectations have ratcheted down a bit as a result.

Either way, it's time in the markets, not market timing, that matters. Don't believe me? Check out the story of Disciplined Dave and Hapless Harry in this month's issue. A little discipline can go a long way toward closing the gap between fund returns and investor returns. Which brings us to my next point: If you haven't funded your IRA yet, do it now, so you don't suffer from the "procrastination penalty" a recent Vanguard study discussed. Then help your kids and grandkids get in the act with their own Roth IRA. Not sure which fund to start them with? I've got a few suggestions in the issue, plus an interview with Don Kilbride of Dividend Growth and a look at the management changes Vanguard has made at Selected Value.

Read More

March 2014

March 3, 2014
PDF

Vortex Generator

February began with dire predictions about the state of the markets, yet it ended with good gains as the S&P 500 and various small- and mid-cap indexes hit all-time highs. So are you going to listen to all those people telling you, “As goes January, so goes the year”? I wouldn’t, and I’ll show you why in the issue.

But that’s not all you need to watch out for. With the bear market of 2007 to 2009 almost entirely wiped from the record, five-year returns are shooting through the roof. These numbers mean nothing, and you are better off ignoring them. Where do the best values lie now? I’ll tell you in this month’s Funds Focus, covering Vanguard’s growth and income funds. As for those who’ve asked when to get started with my Model Portfolios, my answer is simple: There is never a better time than now, because it’s time in the market that matters, not market timing. Read More

February 2014

February 3, 2014
PDF

Starting With a Jolt

Investors are nervous about keeping the gains earned in the five years since the market bottomed in 2009, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 5.3% from the all-time high established on the last trading day of 2013 and the 10-year Treasury’s price rallying 3.5% in January. But the increasing volatility in stocks is what I’ve been warning about for some time now. I could give you lots of stats, but consider that in the first month of this new year, there were six days in which the Dow saw intraday moves greater than 200 points. In 2013, there were 23—for the entire year.

In this issue, I’ll give you some further perspective on the market’s increased volatility. Hint: The key to success is time in the market, not market-timing. Also, for those of you nearing or starting retirement, Research Director Jeff DeMaso and I have a look at another strategy we couldn’t fit into the December issue. In this case, the theory seems good, but I’m not sure it would work so well in practice. For the more adventurous among you, as promised, we have our full update on the Hot Hands strategy, but like I said before, this year I’m sitting it out. Whatever you do, though, be sure to keep a close eye on your Vanguard accounts. I’ve been noticing some odd things on their website, from minor inexplicable return discrepancies to instructions that mysteriously went unexecuted. By the way, some of you asked for clarification on the Average Vanguard Investor Index. I’ve got the details for you in the issue. Read More

January 2014

January 2, 2014
PDF

Eye of the Taper

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014. While I wouldn't put too much stock in the punditry that inspired my newly christened Roubini Award, everyone's got to have an outlook. I'll tell you what mine is for 2014 in this month's issue. But unlike most of the prognosticators out there, I'll also remind you what I said in the same space one year ago–even where I got it wrong–in my annual Report Card. Plus, I've got a recap on the major events of 2013, which might help put Total Stock Market's 33.3% gain and Total Bond Market's 2.3% loss in perspective. For Vanguard, the past year was a pretty big one, with several longtime managers leaving; a slew of funds launching, reshuffling their share classes, or merging out of existence; and a fair share of fund closings and reopenings, too. As for this year, I'll bet some of you are wondering what the 2014 Hot Hands fund is. If you missed the earlier announcement in today's Hotline, I've get a reminder in the issue. But whether you're following this momentum strategy or not, don't forget to save for the long term. I'm funding my IRA for 2014 today, and you should, too. Read More

December 2013

December 2, 2013
PDF

All Atwitter

Is it the year 2000 again, or is it 2006? Social network and microblogger Twitter went public on Nov. 7 at a pre-market valuation of $18.1 billion, then saw its stock promptly soar 72.7% on the day and trade over 117 million shares. Are we witnessing another tech bubble à la 2000? And when you focus in on the Dow Jones Industrials, the “volatility” we’re experiencing (or lack thereof) looks a whole lot like 2006. I would hate to see investors lulled into the market by the relative complacency with which we've been hitting recent highs. My admonition to you: Please keep expectations in check.

Speaking of expectations, nobody knows just what their retirement will be like, but this issue has my tips for how to live on your well-deserved earnings during retirement. One thing I can tell you off the bat: Once you set your course, stay disciplined. On the same topic, I have an Interview with John Ameriks, a 10-year veteran at Vanguard who currently leads the active equity team but is also one of the firm’s experts on retirement. He has some opinions on some of the very same strategies I mention in the article on retirement. And, of course, as promised, I have more for you in this issue on the October Hot Hands strategy, one of my proprietary momentum-based strategies that has beaten the market over the long haul. Read More

November 2013

November 1, 2013
PDF

Keep Expectations in Check

The stock market didn’t fall in September, and it didn’t fall in October. In fact, it hit record highs, with Total Stock Market Index posting an 8.0% total return over the two months alone. So much for the gloom-and-doomers and the “Sell in May” crowd. But a word of caution is in order. With October 2013’s end, five-year returns will now be completely rid of the horrific month of October 2008, and the numbers are soaring. Don't be fooled—these point-in-time numbers do not tell you how the typical investor did, and the next five years will not look anything like the past five.

October was also a big month for Vanguard, which announced it is phasing out Signal class shares in favor of Admiral shares and merging redundant and unsuccessful funds, including some of the Tax-Managed and Managed Payout funds, out of existence. Unfortunately, the merger of U.S. Growth and Growth Equity doesn't appear to solve any problems for their shareholders. You can find my pro forma analysis of what the combined portfolio will look like in the issue. As for the ongoing rollout of the Affordable Care Act, how has the picture for Health Care changed? Check out my interview with manager Jean Hynes for her take. And speaking of changes, International Growth is losing a manager to PIMCO. If you missed my update on that or the October Hot Hands fund, I've got a recap of both for you in the issue. Read More

October 2013

October 1, 2013
PDF

Tale of Three Markets

In spite of its reputation as a bad month for stocks, speculation over Fed tapering, and dire warnings of a government shutdown, September made mincemeat of the pundits' predictions that it would be "losses all around." Stocks gained; bonds gained; and investors who tried once again to time the market got their heads handed to them. If September taught any lessons, it was that you shouldn't set your investment course by the speculation that defines the daily news cycle.

That said, volatility may be rising in the coming weeks. In this month's issue, I've got a 10-step program to help you prepare and overcome any queasiness you feel. While Vanguard announced its own answer to volatility in the new Global Minimum Volatility fund just before month-end, I think there are much better ways you can deal with it. And if you're searching for income, I don't recommend the latest fad of "unconstrained" and "strategic income" funds being touted by the industry. Research chief Jeff DeMaso put together some pretty compelling statistics on what's been going on in this universe, and it's not pretty. Nor is the lack of commitment in Explorer shown by Vanguard's board of directors and fund managers. Vanguard thinks their system of piling manager on top of manager works just fine. I think they're nuts. But I'll give you the stats and let you decide. Read More

September 2013

September 3, 2013
PDF

Taper-on, Taper-off

Funny, but for all the talk of "risk-on" and "risk-off" earlier this year—as Europe's markets and economies were teetering on the brink, backing away and then pushing to the edge again—I haven't heard anyone talking about "taper-on, taper-off." But that's what's been driving the markets of late, and in the perverse logic that only Wall Street can conjure, strong economic news, which should be good for stocks, instead suggests Fed tapering, and stocks sell off. My bet's on no taper in September at all. Nonetheless, I expect both bond and stock markets to become more volatile as we head into September. (And no, I don't expect more market mayhem akin to the Nasdaq's 3-hour trading halt.)

In this month's issue, I delve into Vanguard's large-cap growth fund options with my comments on each. Opportunity remains here, thanks to comfortably average valuations and investors neglecting the asset class, but check your expectations at the door. I've also got my thoughts on how Vanguard multi-management strategy has impacted Explorer's fortunes, as Vanguard beefs up the number of sub-advisers on the fund further. And speaking of sub-advisers, it's been a year since Vanguard said goodbye to AllianceBernstein, and in the issue I review how performance on its former funds has been in that year. And finally, as I promised in the August 29 Hotline, I have more to say about my trade out of GNMA. While our foray into GNMA didn't go as planned, if we step back and consider the Model Portfolios as a whole, rather than focus on any one position, they are generating strong returns. Despite this misstep, my philosophy of "buying the manager, not the fund" will continue to serve us well in the years ahead. Read More

August 2013

August 1, 2013
PDF

Valuing Knowledge

I've been telling you our economy was growing, albeit at a slower-than-desired pace, for years now, and the GDP report issued at month-end offered up plenty of evidence that indeed that's the case. More important than the GDP report, though, was the Fed's latest statement. Expectations in the bond market have undergone a sea change now that the prospect of tapering is on the table, and interest rates are on the move. We could see a lot more volatility in the bond and stock markets next month as Congress returns from vacation, giving our fund managers opportunities to pick up some bargains.

In this month's issue, I've got a review of each member of Vanguard's stable of aggressive stock funds, including one old favorite that isn't so aggressive anymore. I believe there are still gains to be made here–particularly if you have a long time horizon. I've also got an in-depth review of Windsor's comeback, including an interview with Jim Mordy, the manager of Wellington Management's portion of the fund. You'll also find a recounting of the first five years of Total World Stock Index (don't mind me if I don't bring an anniversary present) and a response to a subscriber question about Vanguard's dividend-focused funds. Read More

July 2013

July 1, 2013
PDF

Taper Caper

Wall Street's "shoot first and think things through later" mentality was in full flower during June, as stock and bond markets fell in concert following Fed chief Ben Bernanke's press conference on the 19th. Over four days, the stock market dropped about 3.5%, and Treasury bond prices lost about 3.4%. You and I have had a pretty detailed conversation about bonds and bond funds over the past several months, so you already know my general take on them, plus my ratings for Vanguard's taxable bond funds. This month, let's focus on municipal bonds, also known as "munis," or tax-free bonds.

Also in this month's issue, if you missed our month-end trades in the Model Portfolios, I've got a recap of those for you, plus an interview with Virginie Maisonneuve, manager of International Growth. And for those of you who've been asking how to help your children or grandchildren get started with an IRA, I have an update on retirement investing for young investors. Just don't get taken in by Vanguard's bone-headed "research" on multi-management, which concludes unsurprisingly but unconvincingly that "there are no dramatic differences in median performance between the two management structure categories." Read More

June 2013

June 3, 2013
PDF

Big on Bonds

Bonds got battered in May, as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury jumped from 1.67% at the end of April to 2.13%, and prices dropped. Hardest-hit were long-duration funds like Extended Duration Treasury ETF, which tumbled 9.8%, while short-term funds held up best, with the ultra-short Short-Term Tax-Exempt falling just 0.1%. I hope your greater knowledge about bonds and interest rates from the Bonds 101 series we've been running for the past couple of months helped you understand and weather the fairly rough sailing.

Following up on the first two parts of the series, this month's is also big on bonds, including updates on all of Vanguard's taxable bond funds as well as its foray into foreign bonds with Total International Bond Index and Emerging Markets Government Bond Index, both of which finally began trading by month's end. Whether you should buy them, though, is another story. See my feature article on these funds for more. Whatever you do, beware of reaching for yield. Investors who do so often ignore the other side of the total return equation–namely, capital risk. Research Director Jeff DeMaso put together a pretty compelling example for you this month showing how a lower-yielding investment can actually give you the same monthly income, with far less risk. Read More

May 2013

May 1, 2013
PDF

Old Ghosts

From David Stockman to Reinhart and Rogoff, and the Boston Marathon bombing to a piece of wreckage from 9/11, old ghosts came back to haunt investors in April. Yet both the Dow and the S&P 500 went on to new highs during the month and closed up 1.8% since March. The rising stock market combined with falling interest rates set up an intriguing dynamic, as the top two funds represented both ends of the spectrum, with Telecom Services up 8.3%, and Extended Duration Treasury ETF up 7.3%. I wouldn't recommend either, as they're far too narrow and risky. (Check out Part II of my Bonds 101 series for more on the risks of the bond market.) And if you're looking for a store of value, I don't think you're going to find it in gold, or Precious Metals & Mining. In spite of political and financial tumult across the globe, both fell about 9% during April, and remain far below their all-time highs.

Also in this month's issue, if you missed my advice on what to do about Capital Opportunity's reopening, I've got a recap for you, along with updates on South Korea's place in Vanguard's index funds, ongoing fee waivers at its money funds, and a solution to the bond market index problem Jack Bogle's been talking about. Read More

April 2013

April 1, 2013
PDF

Quarter(back) Run

What a quarter! The Dow index rose 11.3%, and the S&P 500 rose 10.0%. But mid-cap and small-cap stocks were the real performers, with the S&P MidCap 400 index up 13.1% and the Russell 2000 index up 12.0%. Total Stock Market, up 11.0% this year, is at an all-time high. So are more than 30 other Vanguard equity funds.

Are we investors setting ourselves up for a fall? If you listen to the cries of those who make money mainly from scaring the unsuspecting, we’re headed for a 30% to 90% decline any day now. I don’t buy it–my philosophy runs more along the lines of Jim Barrow, the longtime manager of Windsor II and Selected Value, who asks: Wouldn’t you expect prices to be at or near highs when earnings are at or near highs? I encourage you to read the rest of our interview in this month's issue. Plus, while investors are still piling into bonds, I wonder if they really understand the risks they’re taking with interest rates at near-record lows. I've got a refresher for you in the first part of a series called Bonds 101. Meanwhile, when it comes to dealing with the closing of Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt or whether South Korea is a “developed” market, don't take everything Vanguard says at face value. I've checked the facts, and parts of their arguments simply don't fly. Read More

March 2013

March 1, 2013
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Sequestration Defenestration

It's time to throw the bums out—both those in Congress and those on Wall Street. In February's final week, we saw wild gyrations in stock prices that had absolutely nothing to do with whether earnings were rising or falling, nor whether interest rates were about to make a major move either up or down. Instead, worries about Italy's election, sequestration, stalemates in the halls of Congress and yes, a debate over the propriety of the First Lady getting involved in the Oscars are what dominated headlines. I was more interested in the fact that the housing market continues to move forward, and that the first-reported 0.1% decline in Q4 GDP was actually a 0.1% increase—less of a revision than expected, but a minor positive nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Vanguard had a busy month as well, with Wellington and Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt closing to new adviser and institutional accounts (but not retail investors like you and me), two new managers at Windsor II, and word that the new international bond index funds should be launched by the end of the second quarter. More quietly, Vanguard also filed papers indicating it will be raising fees for the Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) available for a couple of its annuities, adding one more item to the case against investing in annuities. I've got a full analysis of how to tell if they make sense for you in this month's issue. Also, don't miss the exclusive interview with Don Kilbride, manager of Dividend Growth, which continues to put up smart numbers with a laser focus on battleship balance-sheet companies. Read More

February 2013

February 1, 2013
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A Spin on the Rotation

The "great rotation" is the term being used to mark the move by investors out of bonds and into stocks.  And yet, from my perspective, the rotation that seems to be on everyone's lips these days is really not happening—yet. According to ICI, the fund industry trade group, investors added almost $24 billion to stock funds in the first couple of weeks of January. But they also put nearly $20 billion into bond funds. So, the "great rotation" sounds like a lot of spin to me.

On the other hand, how about a mini rotation, or what investors commonly call “rebalancing”? Does shuffling around your stock or bond allocations to maintain a specific portfolio balance really improve your returns or slash your risk? I don’t think so, and I’ll show you why. One factor is persistence of performance, the driving force behind my Hot Hands strategy, another topic I cover in detail in this month’s issue. That said, you don’t want to overdo it when it comes to momentum. Even boring assets like money markets, despite a lousy three years, still have a place in our portfolios—for now. Proposed regulations may put them under threat, but I’ll keep you apprised. Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how the new tax rules might affect the attractiveness of tax-exempt funds for those in the higher tax brackets, I’ve adjusted the tax-equivalent yield calculations in the Performance Review to assist you. Read More

January 2013

January 2, 2013
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Hold the Confetti

Investors typically face the turning of the calendar year with thoughts, projections and expectations about things like earnings, interest rates and maybe a resolution or two about becoming better, smarter money makers. But although the economy is growing and corporate earnings continue to ratchet higher, we come into 2013 with consumer confidence fading and Wall Street pondering the impact of the fiscal cliff and the destructive dysfunction that characterizes our policymaking bodies in Washington. The glum reality is that we enter 2013 full of uncertainty, as I note in my Outlook this month.

But there’s always some uncertainty in our lives, and right now I think it’s acting as the catalyst for investors to do things that aren’t in their best interest. I’ll show you how to avoid falling into that trap. I may not get everything right, and I fess up to that in my Report Card, but I can help keep you stay the course in the face of wild predictions that unfortunately the rest of the media rarely goes back to review. I’ve aired a few of last year’s in the issue. Whatever you do, be sure to make the most of your IRA this year, and send in any last-minute 2012 contributions before the April tax deadline. While management changes continue at Vanguard, you’ll still be in good hands with the managers of our Model Portfolio funds. Finally, if you missed it earlier today, you can find the 2013 Hot Hands fund in the issue. Read More

December 2012

December 3, 2012
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Fiscal Cliff Walk

With the calendar ticking down to year’s end, policymakers are battling over taxes on the richest Americans and the option of falling over the Dec. 31 fiscal cliff, which could be much more devastating to our collective health. But if nothing is done and tax rates shoot higher, are you really better off taking gains now to lock in lower tax rates? Find out in this month’s issue.

Meanwhile, High-Yield Corporate has been closed since May 24 because of heavy cash inflows. Could it reopen, and if so, is a change in management in store? I’ll tell you what I think and why. And speaking of hot money, the October Hot Hands strategy comes out on top a lot more often than you might think, as I’ll show you in my analysis. But remember that a momentum strategy like Hot Hands is not the same as timing the market. Market timing is a fool’s errand, but people keep trying to do it, particularly as they see market volatility heating up. A few numbers on the randomness of market gains may help you avoid making the same mistake. Read More

November 2012

November 1, 2012
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Kicking Sandy in Our Eyes

October would have been an eventful month even without Hurricane Sandy's devastating blow to the Northeast. Vanguard dropped a bomb on the indexing industry with the news that it would begin transitioning over 20 of its funds to indexes from CRSP and FTSE in 2013. Vanguard also launched Short-Term Inflation-Protected Securities Index, the first of six promised bond funds over the last few years to actually make it to market. And while stocks backtracked on the wholly expected news that earnings growth in the just-ended third quarter was not as robust as in previous quarters, numbers on everything from housing to retail sales to durable goods orders suggested improvement, rather than deterioration, in the state of our economy. I'm capitalizing on that with a change to three of our Model Portfolios I'll tell you about in the issue.

Also in the issue, I talk about the 25th anniversary of Black Monday this past month and what the next 25 years might bring. As Mark Twain was reported to have said, "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." I also remind you about my Tech Winter strategy and how I recommend playing this seasonally strong time for technology stocks—and what may make this Tech Winter a little weaker than we're used to. Read More

October 2012

October 1, 2012
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QE3 in Q3

You can be excused for feeling buffeted by conflicting data. September is historically the worst month of the year for stocks, on average, but not only did this one turn out pretty well, it was also an extremely meek month, featuring some of the lowest volatility we've seen in years. While the overall numbers on job creation remain low, business hiring continues to expand, even as the manufacturing sector shows signs of a big slowdown. While many investors (maybe I should say traders) can't see past November's elections, this seems like an opportune time to think longer term about how my Model Portfolios are positioned and why the managers (and funds) I've recommended continue to be my top picks for the road ahead.

Also in the issue this month, I'll tell you the real story behind the so-called "death" of buy-and-hold investing. I've also got a lot to say on the career of Ed Owens, manager of Health Care, who announced early last month that he'll be retiring and handing the reins for the fund over to his co-portfolio manager Jean Hynes–and just as much to say about the future of the fund. And finally, you'll find some good news and some sad news from the members of the team that brings you this newsletter in the issue, as well. Read More

September 2012

September 4, 2012
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Clear, Chance of Storms

Batten down the hatches. No, I'm not talking about hurricanes, though Isaac did leave a bit of devastation in its path. While it's been a wonderful summer, with the stock market jumping rather than tumbling, I don't think September will be as benign. Of course, I'm not suggesting you go to cash and head for the hills, but I do think you have to be mentally prepared for crosswinds and headwinds. And for those of you who hold foreign funds, don't forget that several of them start paying quarterly this month, rather than annually. I've got the updated list of funds distributing for you in the issue.

Also in the issue this month, as promised, are details on how Vanguard's board of directors are investing in the funds they oversee. Had their own fortunes been subject to some of the long periods of underperformance or horrendous losses funds like U.S. Growth and Growth Equity produced, maybe they wouldn't have taken so long to make the necessary changes. But will their firing of AllianceBernstein from Global Equity, International Value and Windsor this past month make a difference for those funds? Get my take, along with an insightful interview with Dividend Growth manager Don Kilbride, in the issue. Read More

August 2012

August 1, 2012
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Bonds and More Bonds

Not all's right in the world. Europe is stuck between a rock and a hard place. China, a key engine of global growth, is no longer firing on all cylinders. Violence in the Middle East is threatening global energy supplies, again. And yet, in a very unscientific scan of the headlines, investors seem to be shifting their focus to the U.S., where the opportunities are better and markets are stronger.

In this month's issue, I'll show you what I see on the horizon for the U.S. economy and stock market, and give you my take on each of Vanguard's foreign offerings as well. Over in the fixed income space, though, is Vanguard's proposed Short-Term Inflation-Protected Index (and ETF) an inflation fund or a money-market alternative? Vanguard isn't exactly saying, and frankly, given their recent track record with fund launches, it may never see the light of day. And that's not all they have to be embarrassed about: The disclosure of how Vanguard's managers invest is rife with unanswered questions, and I for one won't stop asking them, no matter how much Vanguard hates it. Read More

July 2012

July 2, 2012
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Better by (Second) Half

Momentous decisions on health care and euro-zone bailouts capped a tumultuous June that saw its share of market ups and downs and renewed fears of a summer slowdown. But despite all the sturm-und-drang across the pond, investors need to know that investing overseas can be a worthwhile endeavor, when not taken to extremes. In this month's issue, I'll explain how. And for a more reasoned view of the markets, check out my interview with Selected Value and Windsor II managers Jim Barrow and Mark Giambrone. Meanwhile, baby boomers are not going to take us over what I call the demographic cliff pundits and gurus have been shouting about. Likewise, for Vanguard investors, the passing of a long-held baton at Vanguard, with Tim Buckley replacing Gus Sauter as chief investment officer, is less than meets the eye. Though, of course, Vanguard's Partnership Plan continues to be very profitable for its executives–much more so than 500 Index. And speaking of performance, when it comes to determining when one fund is outpacing another, nothing beats a good relative performance chart. Check out the issue for more. Read More

June 2012

June 1, 2012
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Sloppy

"Sloppy." That's how J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon characterized his firm's $2.3 billion loss on bad derivatives bets. And you could describe the Facebook IPO, European markets and trading activity over the past month the same way. For the month, the Dow index lost 6.2%, while the S&P 500 index fell 6.3%. In this month's issue, I tell you what to make of the market's ups and downs, not to mention the myriad balanced funds you'll find at Vanguard. Meanwhile, if the closing of High-Yield Corporate left you out in the cold, I've got an alternative for you. Of course, with the passing of World ex-U.S. SmallCap's third anniversary, not to mention the half-year point for October Hot Hands, we can get an idea of how these strategies have been stacking up. But don't forget that semiannual distributions are coming up. Vanguard may be a little mixed up about just which funds are distributing, but I've got the full story for you in this month's issue. Read More

May 2012

May 1, 2012
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Seize the May

If it weren't enough that everyone and their brother is recycling their quadrennial research papers on election cycles and market cycles, it's also the beginning of May, when that old Wall Street market-timing chestnut recommending investors "sell in May and go away" rears its ugly, and wrong-thinking, head. I'll tell you my thoughts on it in this month's issue. Meanwhile, Vanguard's STAR LifeStrategy line and the series of Target Retirement funds sure seem like a simple solution to the complex problem of retirement investing, but prove to be a bit more complicated and fraught with problems in reality than in theory. You can do better, and I'll show you how. On a more somber note, Howard Bernard Schow of PRIMECAP Management passed away early last month. While this is a great loss to all who knew and respected him, I believe his legacy will live on for a very long time. Finally, the issue wraps up with answers to a few of your questions, and a recap of last week's trades in the Model Portfolios that so many of you were asking about. Read More

April 2012

April 2, 2012
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A Healthy Debate

As 2012's second quarter begins, there are a number of healthy debates taking place. First, what will happen with Obamacare, and how will it affect health care stocks? More broadly, with pundits raising concerns about receding profit margins, are stocks in general destined to decline? In this month's issue, I'll show you a better way to assess the prospects for stocks, and why I think prices remain at reasonable, not feverish, levels–though I wouldn't say an Apple a day is the right prescription for today's market. But while the focus recently has been on the astounding jump in three-year equity returns, now that the 20082009 market debacle has dropped from the numbers, what's really amazing is just how efficient funds were over the same period. I had to double-check my math. Speaking of which, Vanguard might want to check theirs, because I don't agree that moving the Managed Payout portfolios from Intermediate-Term Investment-Grade to Total Bond Market was a good idea in today's low-yield environment. And while that same low-yield environment is making money markets look pretty unattractive, I believe Vanguard's are safe, and an important tool in managing a portfolio. Read More

March 2012

March 1, 2012
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Cranking It Out

After a volatile year when stocks moved full circle and, in the end, generated virtually no gain, the first two months of 2012 have been downright torrid, with Total Stock Market up a nice 9.6%, Total International up 12.8% and Total Bond Market up 0.8%. But don't get too excited about this month's 3-year numbers. With the last month of the bear market falling from the calculations, looks can be deceiving. Meanwhile, sector investing is hot–or at least whichever sector is hot for the moment. Should investors stick lots of money into Vanguard's sector funds and ETFs? I'm not a believer. See why in this month's issue. And while you're at it, find out how you can help the teens you know get started on the way to a financially secure retirement. Read More

February 2012

February 1, 2012
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And the Last Shall be First

If you needed any evidence that timing the markets' ups and downs was pure investment folly, you didn't have to look any further than January's turnabout. Last year's worst performers were some of January's best. Will the rest of the year follow suit? It might, though I'm not betting on it. Still, there is one persistence of performance strategy that has outperformed over the long haul. I call it Hot Hands, and I've got a full update for you in this month's issue. Meanwhile, while Vanguard has been playing manager musical chairs on Growth Equity and Windsor II, the question remains whether the changes have really helped shareholders. Read my stories on both funds to see what I think. Finally, with ongoing problems in Europe, should we simply stay within U.S. borders for our portfolios? Check out my interview with Virginie Maisonneuve, co-manager on International Growth, to find out. Read More

January 2012

January 3, 2012
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Certain Uncertainty

Happy new year, and welcome to another year of independent thoughts, commentary and the like on the goings-on at Vanguard. If there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that 2012 will find investors more than a little uncertain about just where the markets are headed in the months ahead. But the uncertainty about things like Europe, the U.S. housing market, China's expansion or contraction, and a plethora of other issues will also be tinged with questions about a much more basic portfolio question: Will many investors' continued focus on bonds and bond funds soon come to an end?

I've laid out my expectations in this year's Outlook. Of course, I wasn't right about everything last year, but unlike most pundits, that won't stop me from providing an annual Report Card on both my hits and my misses. Meanwhile, there's still time to take advantage of this year's Hot Hands fund, and to maximize your IRA contribution for 2011 before the tax deadline. Find out how in this month's Independent Adviser. Read More

December 2011

December 1, 2011
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Unpredictability

This December 2011 issue marks 21 years since I began reporting, independently, on all things Vanguard. Here are a few things to look out for this month: Vanguard plans to introduce two foreign bond funds for the first time in the U.S. in early 2012. One is based on a global (ex-U.S.) index and looks to be fairly plain-vanilla. The other is based on an emerging markets bond index and is high-octane from many perspectives. Take a look at my analysis on page 1.

Also, as I promised last month, I have all the details on the October Hot Hands strategy. The original Hot Hands is a favorite of many Vanguard investors, and the October version is a particularly attractive off-shoot of it. Finally, I've got plenty of tax talk in this issue, from the value of losses when it comes to end-of-year planning, to the full calendar of distributions, both on page 12. As always, if you're investing in a taxable account, don't buy a fund just before its distribution. Enjoy, and happy holidays. Read More

November 2011

November 1, 2011
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Spreading Profits

In this month's issue, I delve into Vanguard's best growth and income funds which, as a family, are home to some of Vanguard's largest and best-known indexed funds. But, despite what the index purists say, you can still find great active managers and, moreover, cases where they put the index products to shame. For the active funds to buy, and the reason why you won't hear Vanguard promote them, read this month's Funds Focus.

Plus, active funds with heavy tech weightings tend to beat their passive investment counterparts during the seasonally strong Tech Winter, when tech stocks typically show good relative strength. Why is technology historically hot during these coolest of months? You'll find the answer, plus my recommendations on how to best navigate this "winter," in this month's issue. On the other hand, if you're an income investor looking for a bit more stability, I've got an update on my Alternative Income Model for you. Read More

October 2011

October 3, 2011
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Twist and Rout

This month, I'm recommending a trade in two of my Model Portfolios in order to embrace a portion of the bond market that has become decidedly more attractive in recent months—the high-yield, or "junk" bond market. Also this month, diversification and risk-reduction go hand-in-hand, but what you get is not always what you see. Are you sure you are properly diversified? Is there an optimal diversification? Check out the article on page 4 to make sure you are striking the optimal balance for your needs. Plus, don't miss my in-depth interview with Don Kilbride, manager of Dividend Growth fund; we discuss his take on the market's recent machinations and why his portfolios have withstood the current malaise. Read More

September 2011

September 1, 2011
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Watch What They Do

Consumer confidence may be a great indicator for the media to weave a story around, but it's not a great indicator of where the stock market was, is or should be. Savvy investors such as you and I are better looking at what consumers are doing, not what they are saying. Check out this month's charts to learn how to make sense of these roller-coaster markets. Of course, October's coming, so be prepared for the dire warnings of market declines that herald its arrival. Armed with the statistics I detail on page 7 of this month's issue, you will sleep better at night. Plus, learn about two mid-cap growth funds that remain among the best Vanguard has to offer, and check out the share class Q&A for what to expect from Vanguard's next batch of Admirals. Read More

August 2011

August 1, 2011
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Paying Our Debts

The $14.3 trillion debt-ceiling paralysis, and related posturing and grandstanding over our budget deficit, was the spectacle of July, with our domestic woes supplanting concerns over Europe's ongoing debt crisis. Yet, despite all of the handwringing, there are still profits being made and attractive funds out there, especially some large-cap growth funds. In this month's issue, I'll clue you in on what to look for in a growth fund and explain why you should have one in your portfolio–preferably through the PRIMECAP management team. For an inside look at the tax-exempt world, I bring you an interview with Pamela Tynan, who leads Vanguard's short-term muni group and manages both the Tax-Exempt Money Market and Short-Term Tax-Exempt funds. Finally, I predict that stock fund returns are going to skyrocket in the coming months; check out the August issue to find out why you should be wary of the numbers. Read More

July 2011

July 1, 2011
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Two Years and Counting

The "Great Recession" officially ended two years ago, but given the day-to-day headlines and market gyrations, that may be hard for investors to believe. Even though the market has taken a downturn for the summer, Total Stock Market Index has gained 6.3% for the year to date and our Model Portfolios are up between 5.6% and 7.7%. And with GDP at an all-time high, we are making headway. In this month's issue, I bring you highlights of the current crop of shareholder letters, with many fund managers optimistic that the economy is on the mend, albeit slowly. For one fund, I think an upgrade is warranted, while another has gotten too choppy to remain a Buy. But should you lose sleep over PRIMECAP Management's holdings in Research in Motion (RIMM), or Vanguard money markets' exposure to Greece? I don't think so, and I'll tell you why. Money market yields continue to plummet, however, making short-term bond funds, such as Short-Term Investment Grade, a good alternative. Also, with heavy legal oversight, Vanguard bloggers might not face an Anthony Weiner moment anytime soon, but is this social media experiment worth the effort? Check out the July issue and see what you think. Read More

June 2011

June 1, 2011
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Watch Those Numbers

May served up a month the likes of which we haven't seen since August 2010—a loser. The Dow index lost 1.9%, the S&P 500 index feel 1.4% and the NASDAQ Composite dropped 1.3%. On the other hand, May was a big winner for stock investors who focus on one-year numbers. The market (Total Stock Market Index) is up 27.2% over the past year. But at the end of April it was only up 18.4%. Watch the numbers, because they're poised to rocket even higher next month—but read this month's issue before you read too much into them. Also in the issue, find out where Vanguard's directors invest their own money. You might be surprised at who has the biggest, or smallest, stake in Vanguard funds. Meanwhile, with bond bear market sightings growing with every passing week, this month's Fund Focus puts the spotlight on the risks and opportunities available in Vanguard's taxable bond funds. As for equities, for almost two decades, I've been a big believer in Health Care, one of the best funds in the investment marketplace, and we've made lots of money sticking with it. But has the new health care legislation changed the game? Check out my interview with managers Ed Owens and Jean Hynes to find out. Read More

May 2011

May 2, 2011
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Mortar Market

Brick by brick, Wall Street's proverbial wall of worry is building higher. Yet markets continue to climb up and over. April marks the eighth month in a row of positive stock returns here at home. Will the markets make it nine? Odds aren't stacked in our favor. That doesn't mean that investors should give up or give in. We're already seeing the inklings of a rotation in the market that suggests reality is setting in for those with a nose to the winds of change. And speaking of changes, there have been some notable ones at Vanguard lately. First, more details have emerged on the new Emerging Markets Select fund slated to launch in June. Second, Vanguard just announced it's folding its Tax-Managed funds into Admiral Tax-Managed funds, with fewer fees and reduced minimums. Finally, Vanguard's new ETFs have changed the way we can look at the host of aggressive growth funds available to us. You can get my take on all of them in the issue, along with answers to your questions and some tips to help your children or grandchildren save for their future. Read More

April 2011

April 1, 2011
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Aftershock

Worries about the municipal bond market appear to have faded as investors have turned their short-term focus to other things like, well, Libya, Japan, Egypt or any of the other hot spots around the globe. It wasn't too many weeks ago that the tax-exempt bond market was going to be the next investment Armageddon. Read this month's issue to find what to do when it comes to Vanguard's tax-free funds. Speaking of which, April always brings my thoughts back to taxes, so I thought it would be good to take another look at tax efficiency, the measure of just how much of a fund's returns you get to keep after the IRS gets through with you, and what you really should be looking for in a fund. No, it's not low turnover or an ETF structure. Also this month, do you want to know who is eating their own cooking? Read this issue to find out the appallingly low number of outside managers who actually invest in the Vanguard funds they run. Read More

March 2011

March 1, 2011
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Six-Shooter

If you're unfamiliar with Peter Higgins, 49, or David Palmer, 39, that's probably because they've kept a pretty low profile over their investment careers. The two Wellington Management portfolio managers are, however, the brains behind Capital Value, which has been a standout performer after years of lousy returns. But how have they achieved this dramatic turnaround, and should you buy the fund? Get my full interviews with both managers in this month's issue. Meanwhile, Vanguard has always made a public point of sticking up for the little guy, right? Turns out that when it comes to providing a simple service to help you vote your proxies, Vanguard may not be so shareholder-friendly.

Finally, the first quarter is a great time for all of us to review our portfolios. In this issue, I'll tell you about all of my favorite funds at Vanguard and why I use them in my Model Portfolios. (Does Capital Value make the cut?) I think my philosophy that you should "Buy the manager, not the fund," holds up quite nicely as the numbers bear out. As you'll see, over the 20 years that I've been writing this newsletter, you and I have generated market-beating returns with less-than-market risk. Read More

February 2011

February 1, 2011
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Spin Cycle

You can spin the economic and market news pretty much any way you like, but sheer numbers don't support many of the theories. Vanguard investors simply are not standing in front of a speeding train, and uncertainty doesn't mean we should reach for the "sell" button. That said, there are some questions worth examining. For instance, is Vanguard fixing to offer a foreign or global fixed-income fund in the near future? Yes, I think so. In fact, Vanguard may be working to develop two foreign bond funds, one which focuses on developed markets and one for emerging markets. Read what I have to say about a recent Vanguard paper on the pros and cons of foreign bonds. And while you look over your shareholder reports, don't forget to look beyond mere performance to the managers responsible for it. If you take the chairman's letter for MidCap Growth at face value, you'll miss an important point. Plus I have an update on the Hot Hands fund and the methodology I use for selecting the fund. I'll show you how over the long haul, this strategy soars like an eagle, while other strategies drop like turkeys. Read More

January 2011

January 3, 2011
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The Old Normal

Most market pundits, economists and investors got it wrong last year at this time, suggesting that the economic recovery in the U.S. would be long and slow. The fact is that the recovery has, in many ways, been a very strong rebound off the bottom of a horrible economic retrenchment. We are starting to see a very strong series of economic data points that suggest to me that the economy will grow to record levels in 2011. Read this month's issue to find out why I'm so optimistic. Plus I have my yearly review and my 2010 Report Card, as well as an interview with James Barrow and Marc Giambrone, partners and portfolio managers of Windsor II and Selected Value. Both are fairly optimistic about the next year or two, though they do have some concerns. Finally, as you continue to build your retirement savings, make sure you've contributed the full amount for 2010 before you contribute for 2011. Read More

December 2010

December 1, 2010
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A Stealthy Recovery

Phew, I'm glad that's over. Was it the 8-month, $600 billion QE2 controversy, the disfunction and obfuscation leading up to the midterm election just four weeks ago, or the fact that the U.S. economy was reported to have grown 2%, then 2.5% in the third quarter, which had investors ping-ponging from optimism to pessimism and back? Whatever the cause for the schizophrenia, the evidence is piling up that the U.S. economy is back on its feet, and things are looking a whole lot better than they did in December 2009.

And that's not all that's back on track: After a miss in 2008, last year's October Hot Hands fund returned 23.8% over the next 12 months. Even if you bought my alternative funds, you still beat the market by a nice margin. Read this month's issue to find out what the October Hot Hands strategy can do for you. Meanwhile, something is going on at Explorer, with the fund once again trimming names. But will this improve performance? Finally, don't forget: Year-end distribution season is right around the corner. If you're making some trades to avoid distributions and/or to realize losses in your taxable accounts, you need to know these dates. But don't let the tax tail wag the portfolio dog, or base your trades on "best" funds lists like those at Morningstar. There are better ways to choose market-beating funds. Read More

November 2010

November 1, 2010
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Ship Ahoy!

Make way for the QE2, which is sailing through Wall Street and is expected to arrive this Wednesday! The prospect of QE2 wasn't the only thing making waves this month, though. First Vanguard dropped the minimums on scores of Admiral funds. And they also dropped the bomb directly on AllianceBernstein, firing the management team from its position at the helm of U.S. Growth. Read all the details about their firing and the new management team in this month's issue. This month's fund focus covers Vanguard's variable annuity family. To my mind, there's little question that Vanguard's annuity program is one of the best in the industry, because their fees are among the lowest in the business. All in all, annuities look like a great retirement investment option. The problem is, there's a lot less here than meets the casual eye. Plus, after repeated requests for a portfolio focused solely on Vanguard's ETFs, I've come to the conclusion that my best option is to shift the Growth Index Model Portfolio to an all-ETF format rather than add yet another Model Portfolio to the mix. Read More

October 2010

October 1, 2010
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Vanguard Amps It Up

Bond market risk is rising. Investors who've been plowing money into bonds and bond funds, while virtually ignoring stock funds, think they are reducing risk in their portfolios by focusing on bonds. I think they're making a big mistake. It always surprises me how many investors simply don't get the bond market. It's not for lack of trying. But I think a couple of factors work against easy comprehension. Read this month's issue to get some clarity about the bond market, gain a better understanding of where risks await, and learn where to find better values and safer alternatives.

Also in this month's issue: Vanguard made a significant addition to its website with the launch of Vanguard Annuity Access, a fixed annuity supermarket. While it may put more power into the individual investor's hands, will Vanguard be able to help you determine if these complex investments are right for you, and if so, which ones? Plus, I have a review on the new Standard & Poor's and Russell ETFs launched by Vanguard, and an alternative income portfolio to offer for those of you looking for something even more conservative than my Income Model Portfolio. Read More

September 2010

September 1, 2010
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A Pause That Refreshes?

The glory of July's rousing rebound turned to mush in August as the Dow fell 4.3%, the S&P 500 index fell 4.7%, and virtually every other major market index took it on the chin while bonds boomed. Disheartening, yes, but I think the markets and the economy are taking that veritable pause that refreshes. This month's Funds Focus puts the spotlight on foreign investment. Though investing in foreign stocks provides another important element of diversification to a portfolio, there are inherent risks to be aware of. Read this month's issue to find out which international funds you should sell or buy to safely maximize your potential returns. Also in this issue is an interview with Wellington's Edward P. Bousa. He gives us his perspectives on bubbles and busts, and the current economic outlook. Read More

August 2010

August 2, 2010
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Kindle It

Last month I told you I was skeptical that adding a second manager to International Explorer was going to be an improvement, and was putting the fund on my "watch list." This month I want to expand a bit more on this, particularly since I've now been able to get hold of data that allows an apples-to-apples comparison of the two managers' portfolios at the exact same point in time. Also, in June, you and I reviewed Vanguard's wide array of life-cycle funds—the Target Retirement funds and the STAR LifeStrategy funds. As you know, I find most of these funds lacking. A better choice might be one of the good old balanced funds that have served Vanguard investors so well. Read the issue to find out which ones you should buy, hold or sell and when it may not be redundant to hold more than one. Speaking of redundancy, I also touch on Vanguard's plans to offer 19 new ETFs that, for the most part, really don't add anything new to their lineup. There are a few things that others haven't focused on in the discussion of this announcement. Read More

July 2010

July 1, 2010
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China Syndrome

It's that time of year when our mailboxes (both postal and email) are filling with semiannual reports from a multitude of Vanguard's funds and managers. I thought you'd find some of their comments enlightening and encouraging. On the whole, I'd say cautious optimism is the theme that runs through these reports. Read this month's issue to get a sampling, along with my opinions and recommendations. Also, read how converting to a Roth IRA is one of the best deals I think you can make for your retirement future. But you have to do it this year. Plus I have an interview with Edward Hocknell, a member of Baillie Gifford's investment policy committee. You will be pleasantly surprised by how optimistic he is and why. Read More

June 2010

June 1, 2010
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Top Kill

I'll say this for life-cycle investing: For something that was supposed to be a simple and fool-proof investment strategy, life-cycle funds like Vanguard's STAR LifeStrategy and Target Retirement funds sure turned out to be complicated and fraught with problems, not the least of which were huge, unexpected losses suffered during the last bear market, which was the first bear for most life-cycle funds and shareholders. So who are life-cycle funds made for? Read this month's issue to find out if any are right for you or if you should stay away from them entirely. And what about your 18-year-old—are you considering their retirement? You may think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Roth IRAs and the strategies for converting your traditional IRA into a Roth are big news right now. But the story you're probably not seeing is the one that most of the press continues to miss: Helping your teenage child, grandchild or even friend begin the long road to retirement on the proper foot. Plus, this month I've got an interview with Wellington Management's Don Kilbride, a true manager's manager. He may not trade a lot but he generates solid returns in choppy markets. Read More

May 2010

May 4, 2010
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Seismic Shifts

Often thought of as the Rodney Dangerfields of the investment world, money market funds usually get no respect. There's nothing sexy about a fund where the price never changes and all you earn is an incremental bit of income day in and day out. That's particularly so today as yields have fallen so low that many firms, Vanguard included, are doing all they can to simply keep them above zero. But money funds do serve a purpose; read this month's issue to find out why. Also in this issue I thought it would be worth taking a moment to reflect on the still-early earnings season and the run-up in stocks that has preceded it over the past year. Many commentators are arguing that because the markets have risen so much already that they are bound to fall dramatically. Their analysis, if you can call it that, is simplistic and foolish. Read my analysis to find out why I believe this decade will belong to the stock market. Plus, this month I've got an interview with Virginie Maisonnueve, an international growth-stock manager with a unique approach. Read More

April 2010

April 1, 2010
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Healthy Rebound

The world didn't come to an end with the signing of the historic health reform bill on Mar. 23, nor did the markets. In fact, March 2010 put a nice cap on the first year of the stock market's rebound since the Mar. 9, 2009, closing low. Speaking of health care, this month's issue is focused on sectors. When it comes to investing in very discrete sectors of the stock market, your results can be profitable, unprofitable or downright ugly. Should you really be investing in sectors? In most cases the answer is no, though there is one sector that I encourage investors to buy. Plus we have an interview with one of Explorer's hottest portfolio managers, Ken Abrams and we get an idea of what he's seeing in the small cap sector. Meanwhile, what is "Vanguarding"? Are the new marketing claims accurate or is it simply dollar-cost-averaging? Read More

March 2010

March 1, 2010
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Europe Sty-mied

February's markets were marked by an outbreak of swine flu as Greece, one of the European Union's so-called PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain), was thought to be near default on its sovereign debt. Meanwhile, Spain reported its seventh straight quarter of declining GDP, which doesn't look particularly promising when compared to strong rebounds in, say, the U.S. (where revised figures showed a 5.9% annualized gain in Q4), Japan or even France. In this month's issue, though bonds remain popular, there is plenty of risk ahead. You need to be prepared for the eventuality of the Fed raising rates, and if you're spending your distributions, what can happen to your initial investment. And in this month's Funds Focus I review the Growth and Income category, specifically index funds versus actively managed funds and which options I believe are best for you. Plus I have a tuition tutorial on 529 plans. In the time since I last covered these plans, Vanguard has made some changes to the ones it directly administers, and more states are now offering the company's funds in their plans. Read More

February 2010

February 1, 2010
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The New Risk Trade

If January is any indication of what the year will bring, we're in for a volatile ride. While 2009 didn't look anything like 2008 in terms of the sheer number of days that the markets swung in wide arcs, we're off to a pretty wobbly start for 2010.Though this is the beginning of the roller coaster, there are positive signs ahead. This month's issue has a review of our Hot Hands fund strategy and alternative investment options for you to consider since this year's fund is closed. I also have an update on Vanguard's three Managed Payout funds, which were launched in 2008 with great fanfare, but are now barely treading water. I'll fill you in on why investors are not buying into the concept. And I have an interview with Robert F. Auwaerter, head of Vanguard's bond shop, where we discuss the current state of the bond market and the consequences of investing in funds like Inflation-Protected Securities. Finally, Vanguard has added yet another manager to one of its already full funds, and well, you know how I feel about that. Read More

January 2010

January 4, 2010
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Sunlight Ahead

One year ago, those who ventured a prediction that we might actually be seeing light at the end of the dark tunnel that was 2008 might instead have been just seconds away from a collision with an oncoming freight train. Indeed, the first two months of 2009 heaped misery upon misery. But then, the markets turned, and as my annual "scorecard" makes clear, we saw gains across most boards in 2009. This month's issue is jam-packed with my review of 2009 as well as my outlook for 2010. Though worries abound, the market continues to climb. So how should we position our portfolios for the coming year? The answer is easier than you'd think. I also share some lessons I've learned from 2008 and 2009, and what we can do about them going forward, plus answers to a few of your questions on bonds. Finally, as you rebuild your retirement savings, make sure you've contributed all you can for 2009 before you contribute for 2010. Read More

January 4, 2010
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Sunlight Ahead

One year ago, those who ventured a prediction that we might actually be seeing light at the end of the dark tunnel that was 2008 might instead have been just seconds away from a collision with an oncoming freight train. Indeed, the first two months of 2009 heaped misery upon misery. But then, the markets turned, and as my annual "scorecard" makes clear, we saw gains across most boards in 2009. This month's issue is jam-packed with my review of 2009 as well as my outlook for 2010. Though worries abound, the market continues to climb. So how should we position our portfolios for the coming year? The answer is easier than you'd think. I also share some lessons I've learned from 2008 and 2009, and what we can do about them going forward, plus answers to a few of your questions on bonds. Finally, as you rebuild your retirement savings, make sure you've contributed all you can for 2009 before you contribute for 2010. Read More

December 2009

December 1, 2009
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Recovery on the Tracks

Saying he was making an "all-in wager on the economic future of the United States," Warren Buffett bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe at the start of November. Other deals followed, as merger and acquisition activity has begun to heat up on the backs of what appear to be good values and low borrowing costs.

Speaking of momentum, my October Hot Hands strategy is back on track, if only by a little. How it will perform over the next 12 months will be very, very interesting, especially considering the fund manager's rapid-fire trading. Also in this issue, I talk about one of the more embarrassing, or at least one of the most distressing, periods in Vanguard history, as one of the company's money market funds lost money in the third quarter while another required a waiver to keep returns from going negative. And year-end distribution season is right around the corner. If you're making some trades to avoid distributions and/or to realize losses in your taxable accounts, you need to know these dates. Plus, I have an update on the debut of the new Vanguard sector bond funds. Read More

November 2009

November 2, 2009
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Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Wobble

Despite all the ghoulish predictions for October, the month was neither trick nor treat. Investors on a sugar high battled with those that hadn't yet drunk the recovery Kool-Aid, and in the end they came to a draw. While Vanguard's funds may not be socking you with large capital gains in December, that doesn't mean there aren't still opportunities to whittle down your tax bill for 2009 using losses you may have on your books from last year, or earlier this year. Also, in this issue, I take a look at PRIMECAP's Odyssey fund family and how they compare to Vanguard's PRIMECAP funds. And you'll want to read this month's interview with Jim Barrow and Mark Giambrone—as I've said repeatedly, and they agree, it's the top line we need to look at for a sustainable recovery. Speaking of which, we're just beginning the period when tech stocks traditionally post their best numbers. The question is, will this year's Tech Winter be a warm one? Read More

October 2009

October 1, 2009
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Caution Ahead, Trouble Behind

Despite long-standing historical precedent, and fears flamed by a hysterical press that September would prove to be the end of or at least the first major roadblock to market recovery since the March 9 low, the month ended with gains across all indices. But we're not in the clear yet. There are some signs we should look for ahead.

Looking at Vanguard's funds, no doubt you've noticed that Capital Value's been on fire this year. What is driving this momentum? Read my analysis in this month's issue to find out whether or not we should be joining the party. Finally, do you know what makes a growth fund a growth fund? I consider a growth fund one which focuses on capital appreciation with little or no regard for generating yield. But what distinguishes one growth fund from the next is the individual manager running the fund, the fund's objective, and how the manager is meeting the objective. In this issue, I take a look at Vanguard's growing product line of good, bad and ugly growth funds. Read More

September 2009

September 1, 2009
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Balancing Act

Yes, it appears the worst recession you and I have ever experienced is probably on its last legs. Act I was truly a disaster of epic proportions. But that doesn't mean we're in the all-clear. While the housing market appears to have hit bottom, profits have begun to rebound, inflation remains virtually nonexistent, big banks are improving their balance sheets and investor buying power remains formidable, but a litany of issues remain to keep optimism in check. But I believe we should continue to focus on what we do know versus what is only conjecture. What you and I know is that by building portfolios of funds run by solid investment managers, we'll be able to handle whatever surprises are thrown at us in Act II. I encourage you to read my interview with Health Care's Ed Owens to get a sense of where this sector of the market is headed in the coming months and years. Also in this issue: In August, Vanguard closed one of the best-managed funds to new investors, but there is a private fund run by these same managers that is a tremendous option for you. And I give you my analysis of Vanguard's enormous new foray into bond indexing. Read More

August 2009

August 3, 2009
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The Certainty of Uncertainty

Uncertainty is the only certainty on Wall Street these days. Those who see inflation around the corner are clashing with those who fear deflation. Bond markets are rising and falling on interest-rate expectations, with the 10-year Treasury bouncing swiftly from near 3% to near 4% and back. Housing stats look better, but consumer confidence looks worse. And while the preliminary estimates for second-quarter GDP showed a mere 1.0% decline, revised first-quarter numbers looked worse. Optimist or pessimist, I'm fairly certain we've found a bottom in all things but employment. We've had a great few months since the market's bottom in March, and I expect more to come. But before you put on your party hat, you need to be prepared for anywhere from a 10% to 15% decline at any time. Reading between the lines, I'd say Vanguard is well on its the way to introducing an "absolute return" fund into the mix. Read this month's issue to find out why I believe this is going to happen. Also in this issue, I've got answers to some of the questions you've sent me and more on the latest semiannual reports. Read More

July 2009

July 1, 2009
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Lost Icons

You could say that June 2009 will be remembered for being bookended by the fall of some of the largest icons in the business and entertainment worlds. As for us, right now you and I, and the markets, are in something of a waiting mode. We've had a big run from the market's lows in early March. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are up since their March lows, and expectations are that the economy is starting to heal and corporate profits will follow. Read this month's issue to find out where some of Vanguard's outside managers think we're headed and how this is a good time to buy. I'm sticking with the tried-and-true and staying away from the multi-multi-managed funds. In the closed-fund arena, if you're worried about being locked out of the Treasury Money Market funds, don't. You don't need multiple choices to feel safe. And check out my interview with Matt Dobbs, lead manager on International Explorer and co-manager on International Growth, to find out what he thinks about foreign small-caps in this economy. Read More

June 2009

June 1, 2009
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Hitting "Reset"

Despite the fact that stocks markets recorded their third straight up-month in May, prevailing sentiment still seems to be leaning toward pessimism—if not outright doom and gloom. I don't buy it. I don't think we're headed into the abyss. But I do think that our expectations need to be reset. No longer will stocks and bonds give us outsized gains with undersized risks. And yes, you really do have to save for your retirement. Read this month's issue to find out where I believe we're headed. Plus I have the second part of the Roth IRA story—how more of you are going to be able to reap the benefits of it in 2010. Also check out my interview with Wellington Management's Don Kilbride, manager of Dividend Growth, to learn how he finds dividends in a down economy. I also have answers to some IRA questions and more info on our May trade of Global Equity. Read More

May 2009

May 1, 2009
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The First 37 Days

I'll let others comment on the President's first 100 days in office. Me, I'm looking at the first 37 days since the stock market hit its bear-market low. Since then we've seen the Dow Jones Industrial Average go up, 500 Index is up and our Model Portfolios are up. We're slowly and prudently rebuilding our wealth. Read this month's issue to find out about which funds may be your best dividend investment options when inflation rears its ugly head. There is also an interview with Michael Lee Hong, manager of High-Yield Corporate, and what changes are occurring within the high-yield bond market and why he remains bearish on the near future. And we have the first of a two-part story about Roth IRAs and why tax-deferred and tax-free savings accounts are a spectacular way to fund your retirement. Read More

April 2009

April 1, 2009
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March Madness

Volatility was in the house during March. The good news is the month ended with an 8.7% gain. The bad news is that wasn't enough to erase the losses earlier this year. But a flicker or two of light in economic data may be pointing to a light at the end of the recessionary tunnel, though April will certainly bring showers with a dismal earnings season. Hear what Ford B. Draper Jr., recently added to the management team at Morgan Growth, has to say about the latest developments in my interview with him. Meanwhile, don't be spooked by the specter of higher costs at your Vanguard funds: The insight of Morningstar's recent update about expense ratios leaves a few things to be desired. Speaking of insight, isn't it about time Vanguard led the way in improving disclosure regarding Director holdings in its funds, rather than giving vague categories like "over $100,000"? I'll tell you who's eating their own cooking, and who's not. One thing you can be sure of: Many of the managers of our Model Portfolio funds are. I've got updates on all of these funds for you. Read More

March 2009

March 2, 2009
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Confidence Game

Will small stocks be the winners out of this market's bottom, whenever it comes? I'm not so sure. But Vanguard's aggressive growth funds mix small-, mid- and even some large-cap stocks in the category. Get my profiles on each in this month's issue. And yes, the market's down, but this is the perfect time to invest in an IRA for a working teen who has to report income. I'll tell you why, and how. Meanwhile, Vanguard's Growth Equity fund is finally under new management—the old record, a horrible one foisted upon shareholders by the team at Turner Investments, is history. But is Vanguard keeping the SEC straight on just who's minding the shop at MidCap Growth? There's some conflict between what their filings say and what their website says. Also, don't forget that March is quarterly distribution time for lots of funds, and supplemental distribution time for others. Find out whether your fund may be making a distribution soon. Finally, Vanguard has closed some bond funds overseas. Will they have to do so in the U.S.? Read More

February 2009

February 2, 2009
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The Change We Need

The year 2009 began with a rally that quickly reverted to declines as investors continued to worry about the extent to which the global economy has slowed. While it is easy to focus on the gloom of the day, there's another side I'd like to mention: Change has come albeit slowly and at times almost imperceptibly. One change has been the narrowing of spreads between corporate bonds and Treasurys. Another change for this year is a new Hot Hands fund. I've got a review of the strategy for you since its inception. There have also been many changes to funds, fund managers, and managers of fund managers, most recently at Growth Equity and in Vanguard's Portfolio Review Department, and I have all the particulars in this month's issue. I also give you a more detailed look at the reasons behind the trades we made at the end of the year and an update on our Model Portfolio performance. And I am pleased to announce that the 2009 Guidebook has been completed, and we are beginning to ship them. I hope you sign up for your copy today. Read More

January 2009

January 2, 2009
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Running Back

It's a new year, and I for one am glad to put 2008 in the rearview mirror. That said, here are some highlights from this month's issue. Morgan Growth is growing fat with managers. Does multi-management help? You couldn't prove it to me. As for volatility, check out my tables showing how volatile the Dow really was in 2008. Looking ahead to 2009, I've also got the 2009 Hot Hands fund for you. I'll have a full report on Hot Hands next month. And Vanguard is finally going to try to fix their brokerage business by taking all the inner workings internal, and taking it out of Pershing's hands. Let's hope it's a fix and not something that gets worse rather than better. Finally, beware of the Treasury bubble (Vanguard's Extended Duration Treasury ETF gained 55% in 2008, most of it in just the last two months) and remember to take the forecasts of market pundits and economists with a grain of salt, as there is no crystal ball. I've got a look at the past year's news and a report card on my own calls over the year for you. Read More

December 2008

December 1, 2008
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Hat Trick

Scoring a hat trick, or three consecutive goals, is generally considered a rare and wondrous thing. Unfortunately, in the current investment climate, the hat trick we've just "scored" is a rare and horrible three months of declining markets for virtually all asset classes. The numbers are astounding when you consider the worst losses suffered by most Vanguard funds in prior market declines. As you'll see in this month's issue, this one is taking virtually all Vanguard funds to new, record drawdowns, or maximum cumulative losses (MCLs). Also in the issue, I have an interview with James P. Barrow, lead manager on Windsor II and Selected Value, an update on the soon-to-be-closed Insured Long-Term Tax-Exempt and a look at the alluring yields of Vanguard's tax-exempt funds. Meanwhile, out of this morass we may be able to see some clarity of purpose on the concerted efforts worldwide to get a handle on the credit crisis, get capital flowing again and put people back to work rebuilding our economy. Read More

November 2008

November 1, 2008
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Euphoria to Panic

October 2008 was a lesson in how investor fear and uncertainty replaces common sense and market discipline. There was no place to hide. (And as I anticipated, International Explorer has finally reopened, along with Precious Metals & Mining.) Despite the drubbing, I remain convinced that the investment discipline you and I follow will serve us well into the future. If you missed the October 23 Hotline, see page 3 of this month's issue for changes to our Model Portfolios. Also, on page 4 you'll find an interview with Don Kilbride of Dividend Growth. Finally, I have some tax tips and updates for you on our October Hot Hands strategy, Tech Winter, and what managers of Vanguard funds are saying in their semiannual reports. Read More

October 2008

October 1, 2008
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A Month of Mondays

September met all expectations, and then some, as the worst month of the year for stocks, as the financial crisis hit with full force. At the quarter?s close, the Dow is 23.4% below its recent high. Meanwhile, international stocks have been hit harder than domestics. So are they still good investments? Dan thinks so. Speaking of which, Vanguard cut the Managed Payout funds' allocations to foreign stocks, among other changes. But will they consider a hedge fund strategy to smooth out the funds' returns? Meanwhile, be wary of the talking heads on TV, and don't be fooled by the headlines to come saying bonds have outperformed stocks over the past decade. Capitalism isn't dead, and if you hang tight, our diversification in Vanguard's top funds will pay off. Finally, stay tuned next month for Dan's next October Hot Hands pick. Read More

September 2008

September 1, 2008
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Energizer Economy

With the latest GDP report showing 3.3% growth in Q2, rather than 1.9% as previously reported, and the continuing volatility in stocks, what should you make of this seesaw market? Dan's got answers to the questions you've been asking him starting on page 1 of this month's issue. Meanwhile, the volatility is here to stay. Unfortunately, despite the recent manager changes at Vanguard, so is the AllianceBernstein team at U.S. Growth. By the way, if what Vanguard claims about the recent reopenings of Health Care and Explorer is true, why is International Explorer still closed? And is Total Stock Market really becoming more popular than 500 Index? As Dan explains, that depends on how you look at it. Read More

August 2008

August 1, 2008
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What's Best for Your Money?

When the going gets tough, a lot of investors get scared out of stocks. But even if you're retired, is that what's best for your money? Dan shows why even for income-oriented investors, and even during tough times, stocks have a lot to offer for the long run. Of course, whether the latest management changes at Explorer, Windsor, and Capital Value will turn things around for those funds is another question. Dan interviews James Mordy at Windsor to find out what his plans for the fund are. Finally, if you haven't heard the fuss about the U.S. stock market's "lost decade," you probably will soon. But you don't have to worry: Thanks to Dan's strategy of using top-notch managers in a diversified portfolio with the right risk characteristics, investors in the Adviser Growth Portfolio racked up three times the market's return over the past ten years, and a healthy 7.5% annualized return versus the market's 0.1% annualized return since the end of 1999. Read More

July 2008

July 1, 2008
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Fear's Wake

Fear is the new buzzword on Wall Street and Main Street. While the second quarter started off fairly strong, June took it apart with big losses across the globe and both major U.S. indexes barely avoiding an official bear-market call. All of that might make variable annuities sound pretty good, considering the guarantees they come with. But what's the catch? As Dan explains in this issue, it turns out there are plenty, though they can have their appeal. On a side note, just what is keeping U.S. Growth alive? And will the presidential election determine the fate of the market? Read Dan's take to find out. Read More

June 2008

June 2, 2008
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Keeping Perspective

Two months certainly doesn't make a trend, but after the first quarter, it's good to have a respite from the steady beat of lousy economic reports, lousy investor sentiment and, most importantly, lousy market returns. And that's not all that's different: Changes are afoot at Growth Equity, International Value, and possibly Health Care, not to mention the taxable gains funds may realize in 2008. (As for U.S. Growth, based on one shareholder's correspondence with Vanguard Chairman John Brennan, it may be a touchy subject.) Finally, with warmer weather coming our way, it's a great time to start thinking about helping your children start their own Roth IRAs. Read More

May 2008

May 1, 2008
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Sweet!

With the market going down earlier this year, and back up just recently, it's the perfect time for an early midyear review. Dan takes a look at the record highs in major indexes around the world, and how much it will take to get back to those levels. Speaking of foreign markets, could Emerging Markets be a safe haven? Check out what Baillie Gifford's Edward Hocknell has to say in this month's manager interview. And with April 15 just past, no doubt taxes are on your mind. But forget tax efficiency, think after-tax returns. Dan reports just which Vanguard funds give you the best returns even after you pay your dues in this month's issue, as well as special tax-efficiency tables in the News section of the website. Read More

April 2008

April 1, 2008
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Stormy Quarter

When it rains, it pours, but investors in Windsor II need not fear. Dan explains how Jim Barrow's prudent management protected the fund from the worst of Bear Sterns' sudden decline. And while Vanguard's value funds, including one U.S. investors may not have heard of, have suffered lately, it's markets like these that give top managers bargains that pay off for patient investors. As you may recall, Dan reported last year on how investing in the right funds just after a big market decline can boost your returns. This month, he provides an update on how buying the 3.5% drop on February 27, 2007, has worked out, and what to do about any similar drop in 2008. Of course, if you're a Treasury investor, tax-exempt yields are presenting an opportunity you shouldn't miss, and if you're a retiree, Dan has a savings and withdrawal plan for you. Read More

March 2008

March 3, 2008
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"Charge It!"

As usual, Vanguard announced several fund manager changes in February. But that's not the only change: Vanguard will also have a new CEO. Dan discusses the implications of the new arrangements for Vanguard shareholders. Speaking of implications, does the 2008 volatility mean we should switch from stocks to bonds? Hear what the managers of Selected Value and Windsor II have to say. Finally, don't forget that you have until April 15 to help your child or grandchild make 2007 IRA contributions. It's never too early to start planning for retirement. Read More

February 2008

February 1, 2008
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Above the Falls

With the extreme volatility in January, will we see a major bear market in 2008? Dan explains why the panic-ridden headlines are misleading. But that's not all that needs explaining—for instance, why did reinvestment of ETF distributions take so long at Vanguard Brokerage? And does anyone need the new MegaCap and upcoming Managed Payout funds? Meanwhile, this year's Hot Hands fund warrants caution, and you might be better off in some alternatives. Read More

January 2008

January 1, 2008
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Cash Crutch

2007 sure contained a few surprises, and as the new year begins, it's a good time to see what we can learn in hindsight. Dan reviews the events of the past year, as well as how his own calls fared, and reveals his outlook for 2008. Some pundits are crying the R-word, but what exactly defines a recession? And just where do the Fed's responsibilities lie when things get dicey? Dan answers those questions and asks a few of his own in an interview with Bill Ricks of AXA Rosenberg, the quant shop responsible for portions of Vanguard Explorer, U.S. Value, and its new Market Neutral fund. Speaking of which, Vanguard has introduced a slew of new funds in the past year, so don't forget to sign up pre-publication for the completely updated 2008 FFSA Independent Guide to the Vanguard Funds. Details can be found on page 16 of this month's issue. Happy New Year! Read More

December 2007

December 1, 2007
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One Question

It's at times of market stress that investors panic. But before you think about getting out or making big changes, Dan has one question for you. In this issue, he'll tell you about that and other tough questions for Vanguard's international funds, distribution season, and the annual year-end surge in money market yields. But take heart: Dan's recommendations will put your portfolio on track for even better returns going forward, and he has a few stocking stuffer suggestions for the holidays, too. Read More

November 2007

November 1, 2007
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What Wolf?

Despite all the latest worries and threats, equity markets moved higher in October, and the Fed cut interest rates again. So with Tech Winter getting underway, and all the talk of large-cap growth coming back, is it finally time to buy U.S. Growth? Dan discusses each in detail this month, with a recap of Morningstar's more lenient views of the fund. And in addition to the best funds for Tech Winter, Dan reveals his new October Hot Hands fund and talks about U.S. Value's recent underperformance with its management team. But keep an eye on your account statements, and take a good look at the Vanguard errors Dan reports in this issue. And if you missed Dan's changes to the Model Portfolios in the October 4 Hotline, see the notes at the bottom of page 2 for exactly what to do. Read More

October 2007

October 1, 2007
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Discounting The Economy

What a quarter! The stock market's record high then subsequent tumble was enough to turn anyone's hair a lighter shade of grey. But the Federal Reserve's 50-basis point rate cut was the balm that soothed all wounds, and stock markets here and abroad closed the quarter with substantial gains. Change is on the horizon this month. Large cap growth stocks are moving, and we may be adding to our holdings soon. Dan also puts his Hot Hands strategy through a new test. He considers the new Megacap funds (are they really necessary?) and speaks with Selected Value's Jim Barrow and Mark Giambrone. Read More

September 2007

September 7, 2007
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Dog Days? Hardly!

Are the wild swings in the stock market these past few months a new paradigm in trading, or is it business as usual? Dan tackles that question this month. The good news is, while the markets weaved an unsteady course, our Model Portfolios stood strong. Dan also discusses why just one Balanced Fund will do and speaks with Robert Auwaerter, manager of Short-Term Investment Grade and Intermediate-Term Investment Grade, for his take on the subprime mess. Read More

August 2007

August 2, 2007
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3-D(igit) Perspectives

It's celebration time: Today marks the 200th issue of The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors! Though it started under a different name, it has only gotten better with age. With this issue, Dan reaffirms his commitment to bringing you the best independent research on Vanguard. Meanwhile, bull markets can bring a false sense of security to investors, and so can Vanguard's claims about how well it protects your personal information. Dan takes a closer look at the Dow's fall from its record high on July 19 and tells how Vanguard blunders put one of his own accounts and that of an FFSA member at risk. He also reveals the inner workings of Vanguard funds through the eyes of the managers and demonstrates the problems with ETF distributions with real accounts he used to track them. Finally, if you have to be rich to invest in hedge funds, they must be great, right? Dan shows you the folly in the investing habits of the wealthy. Read More

July 2007

July 1, 2007
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Submarine Markets

Turns out, it pays more to be a Vanguard executive than it does to invest in Vanguard's flagship 500 Index fund. Dan provides all the details on Vanguard's Partnership Plan dividend in this month's issue. He also takes a look at AXA Rosenberg, the newest quantitative manager taking pieces of both Explorer and U.S. Value, examines whether or not Lifecycle funds have what it takes to go the distance and interviews Global Equity's John Chisholm. Read More

June 2007

June 1, 2007
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Fireworks For Memorial Day

The end of May might have been a short week, but it certainly wasn't without its excitement. Even so, one must be prudent. In this issue, Dan talks about the recent market strength and how Vanguard's money market funds can provide smart ways to strengthen your portfolio. Meanwhile, he takes a hard look at just what Vanguard managers have money in their own funds. Also worrisome: is Vanguard's size affecting its quality of service? Finally, he provides a fresh update on U.S. Growth's performance for the last three years, and talks with manager Ford Draper of Explorer to see how the small-cap growth market is doing. Read More

May 2007

May 1, 2007
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Diversification Savvy

Despite expectations for abysmal first-quarter earnings, diversified businesses weathered the new year's economic and housing storms, according to early reports from about half of the companies in the S&P 500. But not all diversification is created equal. Some would argue that sector funds are a good way to diversify, but as Dan shows, while Vanguard's actively managed Health Care has been a great long-term investment, its sector index funds and ETFs don't stand up to careful scrutiny of not only returns, but risk. Speaking of risk, Dan discusses hidden risks in growth and value stocks with Joel Dickson of Vanguard's quantitative group. And while Vanguard reduced its quantity of fees, it replaced many of them with a new fee. Dan tells you how you can avoid them altogether. Finally, there is no way around it–you can't purchase PRIMECAP Odyssey Aggressive Growth or the other Odyssey Funds at Vanguard Brokerage. Dan tells you where you can. Read More

April 2007

April 1, 2007
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Year of the Pig

A 3.5% drop is a great buying opportunity. But what should you buy? Dan tells you in this month's issue. Dan also discusses some changes happening at Capital Opportunity--while it's still a great fund, he has an even better alternative. With tax season upon us, you need to know that it's not tax efficiency that matters, but after-tax returns. Finally, Dan interviews GNMA's two lead managers for their take on the housing market. Read More

March 2007

March 1, 2007
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A Fairy Tale Market

This issue, Dan discusses the market's rock and roll at the end of February. A trio of bears roared through Wall Street, but Dan explains why he doesn't feel we're headed for a bear market. Dan also discusses his favorite Vanguard funds and management teams, and why he's put them together into portfolios that beat the market consistently. Dan interviews Jim Barrow, lead manager on Windsor II and Selected Value, and Diversified Value Annuity's solo manager–he's got some great views on where we've been and where we're going. Finally, Dan tackles the age-old question, "Is it Growth Equity's time?" Read More

February 2007

February 1, 2007
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Yellow Flag

While the market has been strong since summer, the first few weeks of the year brought a slew of mixed signals. Dan discusses why this may be a time for caution, particularly in regard to REIT Index, which he has given a new rating this month. He also goes into more detail about his Hot Hands strategy and reviews the latest manager changes, "best funds" lists, and additions to Vanguard's ETF lineup. Finally, he asks the tough questions: Are funds of funds really funds of fund fees? And what do the trustees really think of a fund manager's performance? Read More

January 2007

January 1, 2007
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Two Years In One

2006 was almost like having two years in one: a flat-to-losing year and, after the Fed's interest-rate hiking pause, a rocket-ship ride up. This month, Dan looks back on the year that was--as the Model Portfolios on page 2 make abundantly clear, we ended on a very good note. Dan also provides his outlook for 2007 and unveils his new Hot Hands fund. In addition, he discusses whether portfolio rebalancing is really worth it. (Apparently not, according to Jack Bogle, since it's been more than three years since he's rebalanced.) Finally, Dan explains 2007's new contribution limits for retirement savings accounts. Read More

December 2006

December 1, 2006
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Third and Goal

This month, it's time to strategize about taxes: Don't automatically rebalance, and do look for tax swaps in late December. Dan focuses on Vanguard's growth and income category, which includes a number of great (and not so great) funds. For example, with a name like High Dividend Yield Index, shouldn't all of the fund's component stocks pay dividends? And finally, bond market participants are increasingly trying to bet on interest rate moves, but despite huge cash inflows that are typical of market timing, Vanguard won't close Total Bond Market Index. Read More

November 2006

November 1, 2006
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12000 Vertical

November marks the start of Tech Winter, a four-month cycle that is typically very strong for technology stocks. In this issue, Dan discusses which funds will do well, and why. Dan interviews Ron Holt, one of the managers at International Value, and he explains why you should stay away from MidCap Growth until at least the end of December. Read More

October 2006

October 1, 2006
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Down Is Up

Housing is down, oil is down, inflation is down, and interest rates are down. But stocks are up. The Dow Industrials finished the quarter 44 points below its January 2000 high, and large-cap stocks have definitely grabbed the market's momentum. This month, Dan focuses on Growth funds, and U.S. Growth gets a new rating. He explains why the turmoil in Thailand shouldn't have much of an impact on Emerging Markets Index and which PRIMECAP-managed fund is outpacing its brethren. Finally, Dan discusses why investors in Precious Metals and Mining may need to watch out below.

September 2006

September 1, 2006
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Short Circuit

Closed and high-minimum funds sometimes make it difficult to gain access to top investment managers. This month, Dan addresses this increasingly frustrating phenomenon by finding several non-Vanguard managers worthy of investors' dollars. He discusses some insights into what will happen when Ed Owens, the famed stock-picker at Health Care, finally retires. Dan also sets the record straight on Selected Value and interviews the Granahan Investment Management team, best known for their work on Explorer.

August 2006

August 1, 2006
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Hiking a Fine Line

The Federal Reserve meets next Tuesday, August 8, and its members, led by Chairman Ben Bernanke, will be walking a fine line related to the ultimate disposition of the current economic expansion. If they lean too far toward tightened monetary policy, they'll risk snuffing economic growth. If they lean too far the other way, by leaving interest rates where they are, they'll risk inflation getting out of hand. Is there a middle ground?

In this issue, I compare Vanguard's PRIMECAP-managed funds with PRIMECAP's private-label Odyssey funds. I sit down with Dividend Growth's Don Kilbride to get a sense of where the fund is headed. And finally, I take a closer look at taxable bonds in this month's funds focus.

July 2006

July 1, 2006
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First Half Humbling

Any overhanging uncertainty about the Fed's desire or need to raise rates again was finally resolved on June 29, when they pushed the Fed Funds rate to 5.25%. And, with that bit of uncertainty resolved, traders got back to buying rather than selling. This month, Dan discusses Diversified Equity and interviews Global Equity's John Chisholm. He also explains why this is absolutely the wrong time to cut back on foreign funds.

June 2006

June 1, 2006
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Inflation Nation

Inflation was the source of much hand-wringing and stock selling in May. This month, Dan speaks with Joel Dickson on the differences (and similarities) between Strategic SmallCap Equity and Strategic Equity. Dan also discusses why changes at Windsor II caused him to swap it out of the Model Portfolios and unveils his replacement. Later, Dan shows you how to construct a VIPER portfolio–by using his Growth Index Model.

May 2006

May 1, 2006
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Cookin' With Oil

This month, Dan interviews Paul Kaplan, the retiring manager of GNMA, who says that oil's price doesn't have the same impact on our economy as it once did. He also responds to The Wall Street Journal's assertion that closed funds cool down. Finally, Dan discusses Vanguard's latest new funds, including several new siblings for Target Retirement Income.

April 2006

April 1, 2006
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Lucky 7

Happy Anniversary. March 2006 marks a full six years since the bull market hit its peak—the S&P 500 Index hit its high on March 24 of 2000, the NASDAQ Composite on March 10 of that year. The major indices are still well below their highs. Will year 7 be the lucky one? Dan also takes a look at variable annuities and discusses Dividend Appreciation Index.

March 2006

March 1, 2006
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Why the Selloff? Google it.

In this month's issue, Dan discusses Vanguard's newest fund, Strategic SmallCap Equity, which couldn't come at a better time, considering Explorer's recent closing. Dan also considers what matters more: tax efficiency or after-tax return? Finally, Dan describes just how little the media agrees on the best funds for 2006.

February 2006

February 1, 2006
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Bernanke at Bat

Don't put your passport away just yet. In this month's issue, Dan explains how International Explorer scored top Hot Hands billing three years in a row. He also discusses exactly what Ben Bernanke will be facing as he takes over as Fed Chairman. In addition, Dan highlights tax-free funds and interviews Explorer's co-manager, Kenneth Abrams.

January 2006

January 1, 2006
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A Record Year

This month, Dan looks back on 2005–in many ways the year ended with records not simply beaten, but shattered. He provides full-year performance reviews for each Vanguard fund, unveils his strategy for 2006 and names his new Hot Hands fund. The new year also heralds improvements to IRA savings, and Dan gives his top fund picks for the Boomer generation (and their kids).

December 2005

December 1, 2005
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The Final Kick

November 2005

November 1, 2005
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Uncertainty? Certainly!

October 2005

October 1, 2005
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Conundrum II

September 2005

September 1, 2005
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Unexpected Risk

August 2005

August 1, 2005
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Grow-Grow Economy

July 2005

July 1, 2005
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Value Abounds

June 2005

June 1, 2005
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C'est la guerre?

May 2005

May 1, 2005
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Inflation No-Show

April 2005

April 1, 2005
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Ursa Minor

March 2005

March 1, 2005
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An Easy Triple?

February 2005

February 1, 2005
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Slow Start

January 2005

January 1, 2005
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A Strong Close

December 2004

December 1, 2004
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Petrodollar Fears

November 2004

November 1, 2004
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Insurance Premiums

October 2004

October 1, 2004
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Trading Tradition

September 2004

September 1, 2004
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Driven to Distraction

August 2004

August 1, 2004
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The Value of Patience

July 2004

July 1, 2004
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An Era Ends

June 2004

June 1, 2004
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All Well at Wellington?

May 2004

May 1, 2004
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April Showers?

April 2004

April 1, 2004
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Scaling Uncertainty

March 2004

March 1, 2004
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Outsourcing the Recovery

February 2004

February 1, 2004
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Warning Signs

January 2004

January 1, 2004
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A Considerable Period

December 2003

December 1, 2003
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Home Stretch

November 2003

November 1, 2003
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Fund Industry Tricks

October 2003

October 1, 2003
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10 and 2

September 2003

September 1, 2003
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Powering Up

August 2003

August 1, 2003
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Vanguard Bullish

July 2003

July 1, 2003
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Uncertainty Rains

June 2003

June 1, 2003
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Confidence Booster

May 2003

May 1, 2003
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Outbreak of Confidence

April 2003

April 1, 2003
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Shocks and Awe

March 2003

March 1, 2003
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Hold On

February 2003

February 1, 2003
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Economic Dividend

January 2003

January 1, 2003
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Think Long

December 2002

December 1, 2002
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Bulls Give Thanks

November 2002

November 1, 2002
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Defying the Odds

October 2002

October 1, 2002
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Historical Context

September 2002

September 1, 2002
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Slow Mo'

August 2002

August 1, 2002
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Pendulum Market

July 2002

July 1, 2002
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Confidence Game

June 2002

June 1, 2002
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Patience

May 2002

May 1, 2002
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It's the Economy's Turn

April 2002

April 1, 2002
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Unbiased

March 2002

March 1, 2002
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Enronitis

February 2002

February 1, 2002
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Implosion Explosion

January 2002

January 1, 2002
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Recovery Ahead

December 2001

December 1, 2001
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Recession Here, and Going

November 2001

November 1, 2001
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Tricks and Treats

October 2001

October 1, 2001
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The Cost of Freedom

September 2001

September 1, 2001
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Summertime Blues

August 2001

August 1, 2001
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Not a Casino

July 2001

July 1, 2001
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Shoppin', Not Droppin'

June 2001

June 1, 2001
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No Sunlight, Yet

May 2001

May 1, 2001
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Caught Short

April 2001

April 1, 2001
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LUV Bug Hits Wall Street

March 2001

March 1, 2001
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Williams-Sonoma Recession

February 2001

February 1, 2001
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Highs and Lows

January 2001

January 1, 2001
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Grinch Stole More Than Xmas

December 2000

December 1, 2000
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Dented, Dinged and Dimpled

November 2000

November 1, 2000
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Is It Over?

October 2000

October 20, 2000
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Read More

October 1, 2000
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Acrostic Market

September 2000

September 1, 2000
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If This is the Doldrums…

August 2000

August 1, 2000
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Summer Sweats

July 2000

July 1, 2000
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Still More Value in Growth

June 2000

June 1, 2000
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Alan Gets His Wish

May 2000

May 1, 2000
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Earnings Matter

April 2000

April 1, 2000
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Growth Stays Strong

March 2000

March 1, 2000
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Don't Doubt the Fed

February 2000

February 1, 2000
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A Cold Shower

January 2000

January 1, 2000
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Yahoo! Stock of Champions

December 1999

December 1, 1999
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A Monopolist Thanksgiving

November 1999

November 1, 1999
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Not Your Granddad's Dow

October 1999

October 1, 1999
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Third and Long

September 1999

September 1, 1999
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Bond Bashing

August 1999

August 1, 1999
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Wheels and Fortune

July 1999

July 1, 1999
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FUD With the Fed

June 1999

June 1, 1999
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Investing Without a 'Net

May 1999

May 1, 1999
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Hall of Famer

April 1999

April 1, 1999
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Heads Roll in House of Windsors

March 1999

March 1, 1999
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Fits-and-Starts Market

February 1999

February 1, 1999
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Great Currency

January 1999

January 1, 1999
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Four-fecta

December 1998

December 1, 1998
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Stocks.com

November 1998

November 1, 1998
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A Brighter Outlook

October 1998

October 1, 1998
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September Struggles

September 1998

September 1, 1998
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Now What?

August 1998

August 1, 1998
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Remarkable and Benign

July 1998

July 1, 1998
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No Half-Time Breaks

June 1998

June 1, 1998
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$5 Trillion Business

May 1998

May 1, 1998
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Viagra Market

April 1998

April 1, 1998
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Marching Ahead

March 1998

March 1, 1998
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Animal Instincts

February 1998

February 1, 1998
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A Stumbling Start

January 1998

January 1, 1998
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Hat Trick

December 1997

December 1, 1997
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Red Dawn Sinking

November 1997

November 1, 1997
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A Salutary Event

October 1997

October 1, 1997
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Third and One

September 1997

September 1, 1997
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Shady Summer

August 1997

August 1, 1997
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Budget Bonanza

July 1997

July 1, 1997
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Keeping Perspective

June 1997

June 1, 1997
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Tables Turned

May 1997

May 1, 1997
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Stock Selectivity

April 1997

April 1, 1997
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Fed Flinch

March 1997

March 1, 1997
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Fed Forbearance

February 1997

February 1, 1997
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New Year, Old Story

January 1997

January 1, 1997
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How Now, Dow?

December 1996

December 1, 1996
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Coattail Markets

November 1996

November 1, 1996
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No Surprises

October 1996

October 1, 1996
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Double-Digit Days

September 1996

September 1, 1996
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Hamptons Headache

August 1996

August 1, 1996
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Vertigo

July 1996

July 1, 1996
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Mixed Message

June 1996

June 1, 1996
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Lucky Seven

May 1996

May 1, 1996
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Stormy Markets

April 1996

April 1, 1996
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Diverging Markets

March 1996

March 1, 1996
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Stall or Fall

February 1996

February 1, 1996
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January Defect?

January 1996

January 1, 1996
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Closing Strong

December 1995

December 1, 1995
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Waiting On Alan

November 1995

November 1, 1995
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Ten Down, Two to Go

October 1995

October 1, 1995
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Ignoring History

September 1995

September 1, 1995
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Summer Doldrums? Not.

August 1995

August 1, 1995
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Slow Lane to Growth

July 1995

July 1, 1995
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Refreshing Pause

June 1995

June 1, 1995
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Kirk Out

May 1995

May 1, 1995
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Greenspan's Greenback

April 1995

April 1, 1995
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Doing Windows

March 1995

March 1, 1995
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Lost Barings

February 1995

February 1, 1995
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Super Indicator

January 1995

January 1, 1995
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Plummeting Pesos

December 1994

December 1, 1994
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Decoupled

November 1994

November 1, 1994
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The 8% Solution?

October 1994

October 1, 1994
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The Worst Is Past

September 1994

September 1, 1994
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A Goldilocks Economy

August 1994

August 1, 1994
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Of Greenbacks and Greenspan

July 1994

July 1, 1994
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Another Link in the Chain

June 1994

June 1, 1994
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What Evil Lurks?

May 1994

May 1, 1994
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May Flowers

April 1994

April 1, 1994
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One Quarter Down

March 1994

March 1, 1994
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Broken Watch

February 1994

February 1, 1994
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Grand Opening

January 1994

January 1, 1994
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Bullish Finale

December 1993

December 1, 1993
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Yielding to Profits

November 1993

November 1, 1993
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Black October. Not.

October 1993

October 1, 1993
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Small Is Beautiful

September 1993

September 1, 1993
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Broken Records

August 1993

August 1, 1993
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Climbing the Wall

July 1993

July 1, 1993
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Stop and Go

June 1993

June 1, 1993
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Stalled Out

May 1993

May 1, 1993
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Cold Shoulder

April 1993

April 1, 1993
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Cash Rich

March 1993

March 1, 1993
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Crash Course in Clintonomics

February 1993

February 1, 1993
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October Effect?

January 1993

January 1, 1993
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Better Than Expected

December 1992

December 1, 1992
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Out of the Woods

November 1992

November 1, 1992
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Spooked by the Polls

October 1992

October 1, 1992
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Rate Wars

September 1992

September 1, 1992
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KO'd by Dollars and D-Marks

August 1992

August 1, 1992
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Taking the Bad With the Good

July 1992

July 1, 1992
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Half Full or Half Empty?

June 1992

June 1, 1992
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The Weak Inherit the Earth (For Now)

May 1992

May 1, 1992
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Tulips on Their Lips

April 1992

April 1, 1992
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In Like a Bull, Out Like a Bear

March 1992

March 1, 1992
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Few Medal-Winners

February 1992

February 1, 1992
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As the World Rotates

January 1992

January 1, 1992
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Lousy Christmas Shopping Season? Ha!

December 1991

December 1, 1991
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The Stock Market Shows Its Dark Side

November 1991

November 1, 1991
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Trick or Treat?

October 1991

October 1, 1991
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The Sky Is Not Falling

September 1991

September 1, 1991
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Out of the Trading Range

August 1991

August 1, 1991
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Yearning for Earnings

July 1991

July 1, 1991
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Much Ado About Nothing

June 1991

June 1, 1991
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A Bump in the Night

May 1991

May 1, 1991
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April Fools

April 1991

April 1, 1991
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Wither the Economy?

March 1991

March 1, 1991
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Maximum Maxims

February 1991

February 1, 1991
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Bull in a China Shop

January 1991

January 1, 1991
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A Year to Forget, and Remember

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"America's leading expert on investing in Vanguard funds"

Daniel P. Wiener is editor of The Independent Adviser for Vanguard Investors, a monthly newsletter that keeps abreast of recent developments at Vanguard, and the annual FFSA Independent Guide to the Vanguard Funds. Through his newsletter and guide book, Dan helps tens of thousands of Vanguard investors choose wisely among more than 100 Vanguard mutual funds. The Adviser is a five-time winner of the Newsletter Publishers Foundation's Editorial Excellence Award. View More »

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Vanguard Funds Correlation
What's This?
Model Portfolio Performance
Models March YTD
Growth 0.0% 2.9%
Conservative Growth 0.0% 3.0%
Income 0.4% 3.1%
Growth Index 0.1% 2.2%
The average
Vanguard investor
0.4% 2.0%
Past Performance »
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