September 1, 2022

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

Welcome to the end of summer. Traditionally, in the markets and on college campuses, it’s a quiet time of year. Trading volumes drop, traders and sensible people alike flock to beaches, and facilities crews at colleges like Augustana work 12-hour days trying to address all the issues that can’t be dealt with in a college jammed with people.

But come this first weekend of September, a new chapter begins … Continue reading →

Harbor International Small Cap (HIISX / HNISX), September 2022

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Harbor International Small Cap Fund pursues long-term growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of international small-cap stocks. They have three particular preferences:

  1. demonstrate traditional value metrics primarily on a price to book, price to earnings, net asset value (NAV), and/or dividend yield basis;
  2. well-capitalized and transparent balance sheets and funding sources; and
  3. business models that, through a complete business cycle, generate returns on equity or invested capital in excess of their cost of capital.

Continue reading →

great horned owl

Disciplined Growth Investors (DGIFX), September 2022

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Disciplined Growth Investors pursue both long-term growth and modest current income at reasonable risk. Approximately 65% of the portfolio is invested in stocks and approximately 35% in bonds and cash. The managers can gradually shift equity exposure down to about 55% or up to about 70% if market conditions warrant.

The managers invest primarily in smaller US stocks, currently defined as those with market capitalizations between $1 billion and $15 billion. They “don’t mindlessly diversify across every market, sector, and asset class.” They focus on Continue reading →

Fidelity Actively Managed New Millennium ETF (FMIL), September 2022

By Charles Lynn Bolin

Since retiring two months ago, I purchased the actively managed Fidelity New Millennium ETF (FMIL) for diversification. It is one of four actively managed equity ETFs offered by Fidelity that has more than $50M in assets. My introduction to FMIL came from an article by Tezcan Gecgil, “3 Fidelity ETFs To Diversify Your Portfolio In August,” at, in which she highlighted that FMIL has done relatively well year-to-date. I then read “ETF of the Week: Fidelity New Millennium ETF (FMIL)” by Aaron Neuwirth from VettaFi, formerly known as ETF Database, which summarizes a podcast by ETF Trends CEO Tom Lydon in “ETF of the Week” with Chuck Jaffe Continue reading →

Here be dragons: Data-driven caution for the market ahead

By Charles Lynn Bolin

Medieval world maps were speculative documents, incorporating what the cartographer knew to be true, but that often left a lot of blank space on the map. The places where the mapmaker could offer only uncertain guidance were marked with the Latin legend “Hic sunt dracones.” That is, “here be dragons.”

To be clear, these were not stupid or credulous guys. They were just guys who knew the world was a dangerous place, and the uncharted regions were Continue reading →

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 →

Emerging Markets Investing in the Next Decade: The Players

By Devesh Shah

Who, from a universe of 200+ emerging markets managers, did we choose to speak to … and how?

Good question! We decided to rely on insiders’ judgment, rather than mere notoriety or a strategy’s recent performance. We started by talking with Andrew Foster about his take on his investable universe and its evolution, then asked Andrew whose judgments he respected and who we ought to talk with. We asked those folks the same. Those recommendations, constrained by time and availability, led to conversations with the six worthies below. Continue reading →

Emerging Markets (EM) Investing in the Next Decade: The Game

By Devesh Shah

Is it time to overweight EM stocks now? To answer this and many other questions, the Mutual Fund Observer reached out to six EM Equity Fund Managers. Our plan was to talk with each at length, sharing one manager’s insights with another and seeking their response. Our hope was to help you gain an insight deeper than “boy, EM valuations sure are low! Time to buy, right?”

I am deeply grateful to them for helping our readers further their understanding. This essay will walk you through their arguments and our reflections on what EM investors might Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted . . .

By TheShadow

Fallen angels: “The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Atlanta-based Angel Oak Capital Advisors, LLC and its portfolio manager Ashish Negandhi for misleading investors about the firm’s fix-and-flip loan securitization’s delinquency rates. Angel Oak and Negandhi have agreed to settle charges and pay a penalty of $1.75 million and $75,000, respectively” (, 8/10/22). Angel Oak advises a series of mutual funds whose activities, so far as we can tell, are completely unaffected by the SEC action. That said, Continue reading →