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The Bland Science

Economics is the science nobody cares about until the economy stumbles. When it does, everyone wants to know why unemployment is rising and why their stocks are falling. Humans like to hear answers to unanswerable questions. It’s why some cultures had a god of rain they would pray to during the dry seasons.

November 2003 performance review

Japan was weak in November as a category, giving back a little of its strong recent gains. The Growth Portfolio’s T. Rowe Price Japan fund was down just under 5%. One question in the great recovery in long downtrodden Japanese equities is this: how well can a primarily export driven society do if our dollar keeps falling making their goods more expensive?

How to Marry a Model

All seven MAXadvisor model portfolios have had great years, but they won’t make any of our subscribers any money if nobody actually invests in them. To make the model portfolio investing process as easy as possible, we’ve developed this short guide. 

October 2003 performance review

October was strong for stocks and weak for bonds. The Conservative portfolio was up 1.76%, not bad given its large bond stake. Stocks are just a 30% allocation here, so investors shouldn’t expect big upward movement just because stocks are hot.

It’s (Still) All Relative

Our Powerfund Portfolio lead article from October 15th 2002 was written during what was a difficult period for investors. On October 9th of 2002 the Dow had fallen to 7,286. We laid out the case for stocks being a relatively good place to put your money at current valuations. 

Are Mutual Funds a Sham?

As the Powerfund Portfolios are primarily mutual fund focused, some of you are probably wondering what our take is on the burgeoning mutual fund scandal. Are mutual funds bad news, MAX, and what can an investor do to avoid being ripped off?

September 2003 performance review

Stocks were down slightly in September while bonds rebounded strongly. The Conservative portfolio, being mostly bonds, was up smartly, logging in a 2.8% gain for the month. Over the last three months the portfolio was up 2.46%, while over the last year it has risen 17.4%

August 2003 performance review

August saw the Conservative portfolio move up just shy of 1%. The bigger movers included the Vanguard Dividend Growth fund, up 2.35% and the newly added Pictet International Small Company fund, up 5.7%. This latter fund is a bit risky, but the relatively small position keeps it from generating too much risk to the portfolio.

Great Expectations

Investors these days expect a lot from the companies they are buying stock in over coming years – earnings have to grow to meet current high expectations. Investor’s expectations tend to be wrong, not just about earnings and stock prices, but about Wall Street in general. Look no further then the scandals of recent years.

July 2003 performance review

For the month of July the Conservative portfolio slipped 1.25%. our worst showing of any of our model portfolios. The culprit: one of the lousiest months on record for bonds (the conservative portfolio is bond heavy). Most of the punishment was in longer-term government bonds, which were down almost 10% for the month. We don’t own much of these types of bonds, so the damage was somewhat blunted for us.