By Al Thomas

The professional "experts" that I call professional losers have now come up with another mutual fund category that they call "safe haven". It is yet another way they tell you to invest your money so you will earn less. Yes, less. There is no logic that I can see to this method. This another one of the stupid things the Wall Street boys come up with to confuse you.

Here is what the professional loser calls safe haven. Any mutual fund that goes down less than the overall market during the last market correction. In 1998 we had a break of 20% that qualifies as a bear market so now they are telling you to buy any fund that did not go down as much as the 20%. For example, the Kiplinger Newsletter says T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Fund (PRWCX) only fell 7.2% last August, September so this might be a good fund to be in to protect your money. This dog so far from January 1, 1999 has gone up only 9% while the S&P500 Index has risen 11.7% in the same time period (to June30). Worse yet the well-known Value Line tout service says Founders Balanced Fund (FRINX) lost less than 10% in the 1998 crunch. What a great place to be invested! So far this year it has made a whopping 0%. Yes, that's zero with a large Z.

I have advocated for years that you must be totally out of the market during the big breaks and fully invested when the market goes up. There are several ways to do this, which I will not discuss in this column as I have covered it before.

There is one rule you must follow to have the greatest appreciation on your money with the greatest safety. Only be invested in a mutual fund that is outperforming the S&P500 Index on a percentage basis. There are several hundred funds like this, but they are hidden by the Wall Street professional losers and talked down by those same people. Why? Because less than 5% of the more than 8,000 funds did that well in 1998. In fact, only 319 beat the S&P500.

The professional losers say that comparison to the S&P500 is unfair because of various reasons, none of which hold water. The S&P500 is an average of the market and accepted as a benchmark by almost everyone. The same bums that decry the comparison are also the first ones to get up and shout with full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal about how they beat the S&P. Hey, "experts", you can't have it both ways.

There is only one thing you need to do to maximize the return on your mutual fund portfolio and that is to check to see you are not holding one of the 7,700 poor-performing funds. Easier yet, find the winners and switch immediately to a no-load winner. There are many sites on the Internet that will show you the best current performing funds and another simple way is to look in the Investor's Business Daily newspaper to find the table with the best funds for the last 12 months. Yes, that is very important - the last 12 months, not 36 months, not 10 years. Any comparison older than that is absolutely of no value. I know. Look at this monthly and make changes as necessary.

Doing this will probably double the return you are now receiving. Check it out. Don't stay with the losers. Your real safe haven is be a winner.

Copyright 1999 Albert W. Thomas All rights reserved. Author of "IF IT DOESN'T GO UP, DON'T BUY IT!"

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