Plus, Heartland settles, Gross' skepticism, new funds, and more.
The harsh January sell-off has meant that in many cases last year's winners have suffered a pratfall and some of the losers have lost significantly less.
Bill Nygren and Henry Berghoef's Oakmark Select
Meanwhile, two momentum funds that were golden last year have given back a big chunk of their gains this year. American Century Vista
Gross Not So Sanguine on Moves to Spur Economy
PIMCO CIO Bill Gross is lukewarm at best on recent moves to stimulate the economy via lower interest rates and government tax rebates. In Gross' February 2008 Investment Outlook, he argues that increased government spending, not just the aforementioned short-term measures, are what it will take to fill a consumption gap created by faltering consumer demand. Gross doesn't expect a big government spending initiative--he even references the 1930's new deal--any earlier than 2009. Thus the U.S. and global economies may "sleep walk" in the coming months.
Heartland Settles Bond Funds' Suit
Heartland Advisors has put an end to its muni-bond fund scandal--finally. More than eight years after mishandling the repricing of illiquid bonds that caused the firm's shareholders to lose $60 million, the firm and its current and former employees agreed to SEC fines totaling nearly $4 million. The settlement states that Heartland did not have an adequate review and pricing process and negligent conduct led to the bonds being improperly valued. The final repricing caused two funds to post one-day losses totaling nearly 70% and 45% respectively. The SEC then forced the funds' liquidation.
Rainier Teams with John Hancock
Rainier Large Cap Equity Growth
There are risks and benefits to this deal for current shareholders. John Hancock will keep management fees at 0.75% for two years. If John Hancock succeeds in distributing the fund widely, shareholders may benefit as the fund realizes economies of scale and expenses fall. If John Hancock doesn't grow assets though, expenses could rise.
Leuthold to Launch Global Fund
Leuthold has filed with the SEC for a new fund that would boast great flexibility. Leuthold Global is the firm's latest idea. Like siblings Leuthold Core Investment
PowerShares' Passage to India
An India ETF is in the works from PowerShares, and the firm claims this one will be a bit different from what's available now. PowerShares India hopes to launch with ticker symbol PIN by late February. The ETF invests directly in underlying Indian stocks, as opposed to gaining exposure to them via derivatives and other instruments. It will track the Indus India Index, compiled by the firm Indus Advisors. The initial press release does not mention a proposed expense ratio, but many of PowerShares' single-country funds charge 0.75%.
India has been one of the hottest emerging markets in recent years, but it would be dangerous to chase its performance. ETFs and even actively managed funds backed by experienced teams can quickly disappoint in frothy or trendy markets. Recent returns at Matthews India
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