Author Archives: Charles Boccadoro

About Charles Boccadoro

Charles Boccadoro, BS (MIT), Post Graduate Diploma (von Karman Institute, BELGIUM). Associate editor, data wizard. Described by Popular Science as “enthusiastic, voluble and nattily-dressed,” Charles describes himself as “a recently retired aerospace engineer.” He doesn’t brag about a 30 year career that included managing Northrop Grumman’s Quiet Supersonic Platform and Future Strike Systems projects, working with NASA and receiving a host of industry accolades. Charles is renowned for thoughtful, data-rich analyses and is the driving force behind the Observer’s fund ratings and fund screeners.

Happy Preferencing!

By Charles Boccadoro

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 Continue reading →

The 100 Club?

By Charles Boccadoro

In our April 2021 commentary, David highlighted: “The Total Stock Market Index is up 62% in the past 12 months. 291 funds (and uncounted ETFs) have 12-month returns in excess of 100% …” By the end of the bull run in December, that number had grown to 730 mutual funds and 1102, including ETFs. The S&P 500 ended up 90%.

If we examine just US & Global Equity funds and ETFs but exclude trading (e.g., leveraged) and sector funds, The 100 Club tallied 705 or more than a quarter of the 3000 products available in the US. Continue reading →

MFO Premium 2022 Mid-Year Review

By Charles Boccadoro

The next MFO Premium webinar will occur Tuesday, July 12th.

Our premium search tool site helps individual investors and financial advisers 1) sort through the vast number of funds available today based on criteria important to them, 2) maintain candidate lists of promising funds to conduct further due diligence on, and 3) monitor risk and return performance of their current portfolios. Continue reading →

The Great Normalization

By Charles Boccadoro

Numerous bear sightings occurred these past several weeks, but with June’s awful performance, the new bear is clear and present. Intra-month, the S&P 500 closed down more than 20% from its previous peak and at month’s end, it closed down level at 20%, similar to the CV-19 bear of March 2020. In June alone it dropped more than 8%. This retraction marks the seventh bear market since 1968 (or tenth since 1926), as depicted in the chart below.

It remains quite astounding what a 3% rise in the 10-year T-Note has done to equity and bond markets over the past 6 months. Some good news? 10-year CDs are now yielding close to 4%. Continue reading →

Easy Access Analysis

By Charles Boccadoro

Our MFO Premium search tool site now makes it quick and easy to run several analytics that previously required accessing through the main MultiSearch tool. Users can click on the Analyze link in the navigation bar atop any page, including Home, to run Chart, Compare, Correlate, Rolling Averages, Trend & Momentum, and Ferguson.

On first run, users will be prompted to enter up to 12 tickers. Once run, those same tickers can be used to run any other analysis tool or modify accordingly. This feature gets us one step closer to enhanced mobility, enabling focused fund analysis via your cell phone.

Here is screenshot of quick-access, pull-down analysis menu …

Continue reading →

A Return To Normalcy: MICUS Chicago 2022

By Charles Boccadoro

Morningstar held its annual investment conference [Morningstar Investment Conference US (MICUS) 2022] in Chicago during the beautiful month of May, beginning on the month’s 16th day.

And with it came the return of …

  • The expansive venue of Chicago’s McCormick Place … “the largest and most flexible use convention center in North America.”
  • In-person attendees of 1500, plus another 500 virtual participants.
  • In-person appearances of top money managers, like T. Rowe Price’s David Giroux and AQR’s Cliff Asness.
  • The massive keynote luncheon, which included large round tables with white table clothes and an army of waiters in black vests.
  • Dozens of mutual fund house kiosks with sharply dressed staffers answering questions and handing out promotional material and trinkets.
  • Roof-top social gatherings at venues like the Chicago Athletic Club, with lots of smiles and chatter.
  • The traditional press dinner where Morningstar executives and analysts give generous amounts of time answering questions and providing industry perspectives.

Continue reading →

Not a Great Time for Bond Fund Investors … But There’s Hope

By Charles Boccadoro

A quick sampling of recent headlines …

  • Morningstar author Sandy Ward: “Bond Investors Facing Worst Losses in Years. With inflation still running hot, bond prices are sliding as the market looks for faster Fed rate hikes.”
  • Bloomberg reporter Ye Xie: “… an unparalleled bond rout wiped 13% off a Bloomberg global index of government debt since its peak in January 2021 as the central banks unwound their pandemic-era stimulus.”
  • Wall Street Journal reporter Sam Goldfarb: “Bond Market Suffers Worst Quarter in Decades. Rout has robbed investors of traditional haven as stocks and many other markets swing sharply.”

Continue reading →

21 In 21 Plus Annuity Modeling and New Taper Periods

By Charles Boccadoro

We posted month ending January 2022 performance to MFO Premium site early Thursday morning, 3 February. Pretty tough month! Nearly all funds should be included in this “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 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 Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar – 2021 Year End Review

By Charles Boccadoro

On Tuesday, 4 January, we will be conducting our year-end webinar to review funds and the site. If you can make it, please join us. Register here for the morning session (11 a.m. Pacific) and/or here for the afternoon session (2 p.m. Pacific).

We will use MultiSearch Pre-Set screens and other custom criteria to review fund performance in 2021. MultiSeach is the main tool on MFO Premium.

We will also review Continue reading →

Early Cycle Metrics and Expanded MultiSearch Headers

By Charles Boccadoro

One of the earliest articles in my tenure with MFO was entitled “Ten Market Cycles.” It characterized the risk and return metrics of the S&P500 during full market cycles (comprising bear and bull markets) beginning in the mid-1950s. This piece evolved through the years using month-ending instead of day-ending prices, making it a little easier to see the big picture, and adding new cycles. The series, if you will, is Continue reading →

Super Bull Markets and Latest Upgrades To MFO Premium

By Charles Boccadoro

Last month, in “A Leap of Faith – MICUS Chicago 2021,” we noted that Morningstar’s CEO Kunal Kapoor recently described US equities as “one of the greatest bull markets.” The statement looks past March 2020, of course. Similarly, many who discuss the great bull markets of the 1980s and 1990s, don’t acknowledge the sudden decline of October 1987, so-called “Black Monday.”

Basically, both retractions were so short, each just three months, they just Continue reading →

A Leap of Faith – MICUS Chicago 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

The Welcome
Last week Morningstar’s CEO Kunal Kapoor welcomed 700 in-person attendees to Chicago and the Morningstar Investment Conference [MICUS 2021, the “US” short for United States]. This was the first such in-person event since before COVID. Another 1400 attended virtually. This hybrid approach to conferencing likely signals the way forward.

While many 2021 events were being rescheduled or canceled because of the unexpected Delta variant surge, Morningstar pressed on. And it was so welcomed! [Literally, attendees could watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar: Mid-Year Review and Latest Site Upgrades – Thursday, 15 July 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

The next MFO Premium webinars will occur Thursday, July 15th.

Our premium search tool site helps individual investors and financial advisers 1) sort through the vast number of funds available today based on criteria important to them, 2) maintain candidate lists of promising funds to conduct further due diligence on, and 3) monitor risk and return performance of their current portfolios. Continue reading →

New MultiSearch Screens To Help Analyze Impact of Rising Rates and More

By Charles Boccadoro

Rates on US Bonds have been falling generally for more than 40 years, prompting many to coin the term: “The 40-Year Bond Bull Market.” Below is the FRED chart depicting 3-month T-Bill rates since 1940. The bond bull started in June 1981. In the forty years proceeding this bond bull, rates were doing just the opposite … rising generally, which we’ll call the “The 40-Year Continue reading →

Introducing MFO Premium’s Saved Preferences Feature

By Charles Boccadoro

MultiSearch, our main tool on MFO Premium, outputs nearly 600 columns of fund metrics, ratings, and info. Recent upgrades to this tool have made it easier to navigate, using features as Active Groups, Jump Scroll, and Hover Hints, all demonstrated during our recent webinar. But at the end of the day, users often want to hone in on just the parameters they are interested in, especially if they are downloading to their own data tables or spreadsheets.

Today, we went live with our Saved Preferences feature, which enables users to save up to 10 preferred views to Continue reading →

MFO Premium Webinar – Thursday, 15 April 2021

By Charles Boccadoro

On Thursday, April 15th, we will host two webinars about the MFO Premium search tool site.

The site helps individual investors and financial advisers 1) sort through the vast number of funds available today based on criteria important to them, 2) maintain candidate lists of promising funds to conduct further due diligence on, and 3) monitor risk and return performance of Continue reading →

Introducing “Dashboard of Launch Alerts”

By Charles Boccadoro

This new tool went live on our MFO Premium site this past month.
 

The Launches Dashboard compiles and tracks funds first appearing in our “Launch Alert” feature of the monthly MFO commentary. It follows a format similar to the Profiles Dashboard but lists funds by alert date, most recent on top to oldest on the bottom, since MFO launched in May 2011.

Hundreds of new funds are launched annually (e.g., 590 in 2020), but most are not worth mentioning. David highlights just a dozen or so each year.

Continue reading →