Small Cap Funds Shine
Most stock and bond mutual funds soared in the four weeks ended March 24, but those that specialize in stocks of smaller and midsize companies were the best performers, gaining more than 7% in the past month.
Equities Get a Second Wind as the Rally Reignites
After a brief pause on Wall Street hi late January, the major stock market indexes were back off to the races in the four weeks ended March 24. Economically sensitive stocks like financials led the way, as did small-cap shares. The Russell 2000 small-stock index was up 8.6%.
Savings and Credit
IS YOUR SMALL BANK SAFE?
A bunch of financial institutions have gone belly-up this year. Here’s how to tell whether yours is poised to join them. In recent months MONEY has touted the virtues of small banks-namely, that they often pay higher rates and charge lower fees than the national giants. Meanwhile, 40 community-based banks have failed this year. So if you’ve been following our advice, you might be wondering how to tell if your small bank is as secure as it is consumer-friendly. First, put any worries in perspective: With more than 8,000 banks in the U.S., the percentage that have failed is minuscule. And as long as the institution is FDIC-insured and your balances are within coverage limits-check both at fdic.gov/edie- your funds are safe even if the bank does go under. Still, to sidestep any hassle, see how your bank rates in terms of stability at Banlmate.com (click “bank ratings” in the upper right corner) and at bauerfinancial.com. If it gets at least three stars – all those on this page do – you can rest easy.
-ISMAT SARAH MANGLA
AFTER A PAUSE, FUNDS SURGE
The mutual and exchange-traded funds on our recommended list soar as last year’s market rebound comes roaring back to life.
After taking a breather in late January and February, the MONEY 70 returned to rally mode last month. As concerns over the global economic recovery subsided somewhat, members of our recommended list of mutual and exchangetraded funds rebounded strongly in the four weeks ended March 24. Most stock and specialty funds returned around 5% and 6% during this stretch, but several gained about twice as much. Among the leaders were funds that specialize in real estate. Vanguard REIT and Cohen & Steers Realty both benefited from an improving economy and low interest rates-and returned 11.9% and 11.6%, respectively. And after stumbling last month, foreign stock funds saw dramatic improvements as well: All the MONEY 70 stock funds that invest overseas posted gains of more than 4%. T. Rowe Price Emerging Markets led the group with a 7.2% rise.
-ANA PATRICIA FERREY