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These Fund Statistics Will Shock You!

Fun facts on fund launches, returns, manager ownership, and more.

Christine Benz, 12/11/2007

Now that I have your attention, here's another installment in our periodic lists of thought-provoking fund statistics. (Thanks to Morningstar's fund analysts, who provided many of the ideas here.)

The number of diversified domestic-equity funds with more than a fourth of their assets in overseas stocks. That's not a huge number relative to the domestic-equity universe, but the fact that the group includes widely held names like American Funds Fundamental Investors ANCFX, American Funds New Economy ANEFX, Fidelity Low-Priced Stock FLPSX, and Hartford Capital Appreciation ITHAX provides a healthy reminder to check up on your portfolio's current international stake before adding an additional international fund at this juncture.

3.77% and 3.62%
The yields on Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt VWITX and Vanguard Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury VFITX, respectively. Why buy the Treasury fund and pay taxes on the 3.62% when the 3.77% yield is tax-free? Once taxes are factored in, the yield on Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt jumps to 5.24% for investors in the 28% bracket.

4, 5, and 27
The total number of real estate exchange-traded funds in existence at the end of 2005, 2006, and 2007, respectively (and 2007 isn't over yet!). Many of these "me too" funds were launched at the worst possible time, as Russ Kinnel wrote in a recent Fund Spy. The typical real estate fund has dropped more than 12% so far in 2007.

The return gap, in basis points, between the best- and worst-performing long-short funds for the year to date through early December. Caldwell & Orkin Market Opportunity COAGX has gained 32% so far this year, whereas Forward Long/Short Credit FLSDX has lost 16%. Long-short funds have also shown disparate performance patterns during periods of market weakness thus far this year, demonstrating that not all of these funds play a reliable defense.

$19.9 billion
The amount of cash American Funds Growth Fund of America AGTHX had on hand as of the end of October, according to American's Web site. That's enough to gobble up all of Ford Motor F, General Motors GM, Sears SHLD, or Washington Mutual WM! But oh no, its asset size isn't a problem.

That's the percentage point year-to-date return difference between Clipper Fund CFIMX and Selected American Shares SLADX, both of which are managed by the team of Chris Davis and Ken Feinberg. Clipper Fund, the more concentrated of the two, has lost 0.97% due to big positions in American International Group AIG and Harley-Davidson HOG. Selected American is also having a year to forget, but it has gained 4.87% thanks to smaller positions in laggards and winning holdings such as Altria Group MO and Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B.PAGEBREAK

The number of Putnam funds (out of 42 that we cover) that earn full credit for manager ownership under Morningstar's Stewardship Grade system. That means that the managers of just two of those 42 funds have at least $500,000 invested in the fund he or she oversees (the threshold is $100,000 for managers who run noncore funds, such as sector and regional funds).

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