Stock Market News for May 1999

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Simplify Your Portfolio
Ross Levin, Certified Financial Planner, says owning too many funds leads to overlapping investments, high fees and paperwork overload.

Streamline your fund holdings by:
1. Identifying your must-have holdings. Reestablish what portion of your assets to devote to stocks and bonds. Then decide what types of funds you must own to maximize returns and minimize risk. Most investors need only five funds to diversify assets: Large-cap value, Large-cap growth, Small-cap value, Small-cap growth, and an International fund.

2. Identify your excess funds. You may own funds that were hot last year but haven't performed well over the last five years. Small-cap and international funds haven't done well recently but are important for long-term diversity.

3. Keep funds that live up to their promise. Ask each fund what percentage of its portfolio is dedicated to stocksthat fit its original mission. Funds that are worth keeping should have at least 90%of their assets invested in stocks that match their missions.

4. Sell shares in funds with similar missions and assets. Choose the fund that has been most consistent over the last three to five years. Then reinvest the assets in your five core funds according to your original allocation.


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