Ways to Track Mutual Funds

by Jerry Shaw, Demand Media
    Tracking mutual funds helps maintain growth in your portfolio.

    Tracking mutual funds helps maintain growth in your portfolio.

    Tracking your mutual funds plays an important role in your investment goals. You might survey your mutual funds for past performance and future potential before you buy a fund. That doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax and let your mutual funds work for you. You need to track the performance of funds at least every quarter or more often to maintain maximum growth in your financial portfolio.

    Balancing Your Fund

    Mutual funds may include stocks, bonds, money market funds and a variety of other securities to provide you with diversification. This helps lower your investment risk. High-performing stocks in the fund may come with some risk, so your fund also uses more-conservative investments for protection and less risk. When a certain asset or market sector under-performs the market in general, you usually have investments in other categories that counteract any losses. Even though mutual funds offer diversity, they can still lose money. So you need to track the funds on a regular basis to sell a fund and buy a replacement that has better performance potential.

    Net Asset Value

    Because mutual funds consist of many different companies and assets, the price of the fund is determined by its net asset value, or NAV. Unlike individual stocks, which you can check for changes throughout the day, the NAV of a mutual fund usually appears once a day, most likely after the close of the stock market.

    Checking Performance

    You can check the daily NAV through stock reports in newspapers or online through many stock websites. Most mutual funds also have a website that lists their NAV. The website will also likely list the daily price change and percentage of the price change, as well as the daily year-to-date return and the 12-month high and low prices. Compare the mutual fund’s benchmark index, the index chosen by a fund company to serve as a standard for its returns. You can compare the performance of the fund’s investments with that of a broader market.

    Tracking Tools

    Many websites offer tools to use in tracking the performance of your mutual funds. These services are usually free and you just need to register on the website. Fill in information about your mutual fund, such as investment details, number of units and the NAV at the time of purchase. This easily provides you with daily updates on the fund’s performance and how well it’s performing since you purchased it. You can create your actual portfolio on the website with all of your mutual funds for daily tracking.

    Professional Guidance

    Consult a financial professional when it comes time to make changes to your portfolio. Staying in touch with your financial adviser helps you to make knowledgeable decisions when considering changes made in your portfolio. Your mutual fund company also provides you with half-yearly reports and annual reports as well as newsletters to keep up on the performance of your fund.

    About the Author

    Jerry Shaw writes for Spice Marketing and LinkBlaze Marketing. His articles have appeared in Gannett and American Media Inc. publications. He is the author of "The Complete Guide to Trust and Estate Management" from Atlantic Publishing.

    Photo Credits

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