2022 Year-End Review Webinar

Thank you all for attending our year-end webinar! Here is link to video recording.


All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium on New Year’s Day, reflecting performance through December. Similar to October, we used Lipper’s Friday data drop, which was last business day of year, to get an early peek at 2022 year-end performance.


We’ve scheduled our year-in-review webinar this Friday (tomorrow), 6 January. It will highlight performance of funds across different market segments and attempt to showcase various search features, including additions since our mid-year webinar.


There will be just one session this year at 9 am Pacific (noon Eastern). If you can join us, please register here. You can download the chart deck here, which includes a good reference and background summary of all tools and data offered on the site. As always, we will post a video recording of the session afterward.


December marks the first full year of The Great Normalization Bear Market. SPY ended the year down 18.2%, which is about 6% better than its maximum drawdown of -24%. Here’s a breakout of State Street Sector ETF 2022 performance, which is a PreSet Screen in MultiSearch:



Bonds rallied in November but gave some back in December. The year represents one of worst ever for conservative investors.


Will save the rest for the webinar!


As always, if you see anything amiss or have suggestions for improvement, let us know and we will respond soonest.


Wishing you and yours all good things in the New Year!

Worst Year Ever

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium today, 31 October, Halloween 2022. We used Lipper’s Friday data drop to get an early peek … and today markets seemed tame enough, so numbers should be pretty close to month’s end.


October was a decent one for equity funds, especially value. The Dow was up an extraordinary 14%. But still not enough to get back above water. Well, unless you consider Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) a mutual fund, which many savvy investors do … it’s up 4-5% year-to-date (YTD). The Dow: -8%.


Here’s a quick summary, YTD, showing retractions of some key equity indexes from MultiSearch/PreSet Screens/Reference Indexes, worst on top:



On the fixed-income side, it’s been the worst year ever for bond funds. Few bond funds today existed 40 years ago, which nominally marks the beginning of the (now finished) bond bull market; therefore, most investors have never experienced anything like the retractions this year in bond funds. For perspective, the popular BlackRock iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) was launched 19 years ago.


Today, of 109 core bond mutual funds and ETFs that are at least 10 years old, 106 have experienced their worst calendar year returns ever … significantly worse. Below are some notable examples. (Those highlighted in blue are MFO Great Owls, which means they are as good as it gets.)



BlackRock iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT) is down 33%. As is Vanguard Long-Term Treasury Inv (VUSTX). Both are down 40% from their highs 27 months ago. Dan Ivascyn’s Allianz PIMCO Income Inst (PIMIX) is down -11% … twice as bad as its 2008 retraction.


Bottomline: The Great Normalization continues … with the current bear now in its 10th month.


If there is a silver lining, bond yields are finally going up.


We will update ratings this weekend with the final month-ending October data.

Happy Preferencing!

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium Sunday, 31 July, reflecting performance through July 2022.


When we run the monthly update that close to the last business day, we will normally re-run the ratings the following Saturday to pick up any late reporting funds. This past month that version was uploaded Sunday, 7 August. We also uploaded Tuesday, 30 August using the Refinitiv datafile of 26 August.


Going forward, thanks to a suggestion by long-time subscriber Alfred, we will try to update the site database weekly. Those intramonth updates help when funds report portfolio changes, launches, and closures, etc. The datafile date will be posted on our homepage under the “What’s new?” section, each time we update the ratings. Consistent with that date, you will now find the “Month To Date [MTD]” return and rating under Calendar Month metrics in the MultiSearch results table.


The presentation and video of our recent webinar can be found here: Mid-Year Review Webinar Material. Things had been recovering since that mid-July review, but then Chairman Powell shared the Fed’s intentions from the central bank’s retreat at Jackson Hole, WY and markets resumed their decline.


We have a more recent subscriber, Mark Levine, to thank for our recent Enhanced Preferences upgrade. Since Introducing MFO Premium’s Saved Preferences Feature in 2021, users can save in their profiles the way they want to view results from the MultiSearch screening tables. Mark requested two good enhancements: 1) save any resized column widths in Preferences, and 2) keep column order of existing Preferences intact when adding new columns (or deleting) existing ones.


Now, if new columns are added, they will be placed to the right of the existing columns specified in the running Preference. The new columns can then be moved accordingly by the user and re-saved to the existing Preference or to a new one. Ditto, if an existing Preference column is deleted, the remaining Preference columns remain intact, both order and width, until the user decides to exit or update the Preference.


The Preferences feature will appeal to those, like myself, who track say just a hand-full of key metrics [from the more than 1000 available] and more, but also want these metrics to appear in a particular order and format!

Below are three examples, which highlight the Three Alarm metrics. First, the view showing the key alarm metrics:



Next via the View/Preferences button, here’s a saved “Three Alarm New Widths” Preference, which alters column widths, thanks to the feature introduced last year:



Finally, an alternative view “Three Alarm New Order” Preference, for those that like fund name first:



Any or all these views can be saved to user profiles and set at start of search or implemented from results tables via the View/Preferences button.


Expect ratings update through August to post this Saturday late or early Sunday.


Some of the site’s best features come from subscriber requests. Can’t thank you enough!


As always, if you see anything amiss or have more suggestions, let us know and we will respond soonest.

The Great Normalization

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium Sunday, 3 July, reflecting performance through June 2022. [For the record, May performance was uploaded Sunday, 5 June.]


June’s dismal returns ushered in a new bear market, unfortunately, based on the S&P 500 retracting 20% from its previous high of December 2021. This occurrence marks the end of the previous market cycle, nicknamed “CV-19,” which lasted 24 months. We coined the new cycle: “The Great Normalization,” as described in the July MFO commentary. It began January 2022, is on-going, and can be assessed using year-to-date performance.


Indicative so far: Not a single general bond mutual fund [there are 1200] has returned more than the 3-month T-Bill or more than its yield … 1192 of them are underwater.


Continue reading “The Great Normalization”

The Decline Continues

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium Tuesday, 3 May, reflecting performance through April 2022.


After a brief respite in March, markets continued to sell off in April, especially tech equity and nearly all bonds.


The chart below once again depicts monthly and year-to-date (YTD) performance of the 11 State Street Sector ETFs, along with the S&P 500 ETF SPY. We are about 7 percentage points shy of bear market territory … or, two more days like 5 May.


Continue reading “The Decline Continues”

Only 3 Multi-Sector Income Mutual Funds Above Water YTD

Only 3 Multi-Sector Income mutual funds above water this year: RCTIX, EIXIX, DLDFX. Each have a healthy dividend and held-up pretty well in March 2020.


MFO’s Dennis Baran profiled River Canyon Total Return Bond Fund Institutional Class (RCTIX) in 2019.


David Sherman of Cohanzick Management is one of the subadvisors on DLDFX.


Continue reading “Only 3 Multi-Sector Income Mutual Funds Above Water YTD”

MFO Charts Now Live with February 2022 Ratings Update

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium Friday, 4 March, reflecting performance through February 2022.


The year is off to a poor start with most equity and bond funds retracting in the face of inflation, rising rates, and the crisis in Ukraine. Not exactly the normalcy we had anticipated after two years of Covid-19.


The table below depicts year-to-date (YTD) performance of the 11 State Street Sector ETFs along with the S&P 500 ETF SPY. Only energy is up, with all other sectors paring gains made over current market cycle, which began January 2020. Most sectors are now below their 10-month Simple Moving Averages (SMAs).


Continue reading “MFO Charts Now Live with February 2022 Ratings Update”

21 In 21 Plus Annuity Modeling and New Taper Periods

All fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium on New Year’s Day, reflecting performance through December 2021. We plan to post the volatile January 2022 results late tomorrow. Nearly all funds should be included in tomorrow’s “incremental” drop from Refinitiv, but any omissions will be incorporated in the full monthly drop on Saturday.


We hosted our year-end review webinar on Tuesday, 4 January. Thank you again to all who participated! I benefit from these sessions just as much as I hope you do. It was the third consecutive year in which most domestic equity funds did well, enjoying last of the Fed’s “Infinity” round of Quantitative Easing. Energy funds finally recovered. Most bond and emerging market funds struggled in anticipation of tapering and rising rates. Here are links to chart deck and video recording.


Of the 6,700 mutual funds available in the US, only 21 incurred no drawdown in 2021 (based on month ending total return, excluding money market funds), while delivering return exceeding their dividend yield, nominally. And, of those, only 17 offer yields greater than a 1-year CD, which is about 0.60%. Three of those (RSIIX, CBLDX, and DGFFX) are advised or sub-advised by David Sherman of Cohanzick Management, whom David Snowball has championed for years. Here are the 21 mutual funds, sorted first by category and then return:


Continue reading “21 In 21 Plus Annuity Modeling and New Taper Periods”

Drawdown Occurs (Almost) Every Calendar Year

On Friday, 3 December, all fund risk and return metrics, ratings, and analytics were uploaded to MFO Premium, reflecting performance through November 2021. Refinitiv should drop month-ending December data, capping 2021, about 5 a.m. Pacific time on New Year’s Day. With luck, we will post year-end fund results tomorrow evening.


We added a couple of features to MultiSearch this past month worth calling out …


Continue reading “Drawdown Occurs (Almost) Every Calendar Year”