title:A Guide to Mutual Funds author:John Mussi source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/business_and_finance/article_5552.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:07 category:business_and_finance article:

If you’ve been thinking about getting into investment but aren’t sure what you should invest in, you might want to consider looking into investments in mutual funds. These funds are designed to provide a diverse investment opportunity for the shareholders who have purchased shares in the fund. They can be used as an easy way to create a diverse investment portfolio, or they can be used to accent your own portfolio with securities that have been chosen by the creator of the mutual fund.
The information below is designed to help you decide whether mutual funds are right for you, and includes more details of what mutual funds are, what sets them apart from other types of investments, and how to find the mutual funds that will best accent your investment style.
Defining Mutual Funds
Before you can decide whether or not to invest in mutual funds, you need to know exactly what mutual funds are. These funds are a type of security that is traded on the stock market, enabling shareholders to purchase and sell shares in the funds as they choose. The money that is raised by the purchasing of shares by shareholders is utilized by the investment company that created the firm to purchase more shares of certain stocks, bonds, and other market securities and money market instruments.
As the value of the stocks, bonds, and other securities contained within the mutual fund rise and fall, the value of the fund itself fluctuates? the average value of each share of the mutual fund is determined each day as an average of the total value of all of the securities that are contained within the fund.
Because of this, shareholders who own part of a mutual fund are more directly involved with their investment than those who simply own individual securities and watch as they rise and fall.
Important Attributes of Mutual Funds
As was mentioned above, mutual funds are created by investment companies to purchase shares in various stocks and other securities. What this means for the mutual fund investor is that in addition to their ownership of shares of the mutual fund, they also have a limited claim of ownership of some of the securities contained within the mutual fund. In addition to this, mutual funds also benefit from having a built in system of diversification, as well as professional money management services that handle all of the money that is invested into the fund.
Shareholders are free to purchase additional shares or sell the shares that they already possess at any time, though the value of the shares fluctuates daily and therefore must be bought or sold with care so as to get the best value for the money.
Finding the Best Mutual Funds
Since the value of mutual funds varies from day to day, it can be difficult to find the funds that are best for your investment. Instead of tracking the funds as you would traditional stocks and securities, it’s often better to investigate the mutual fund to determine which investment company is managing the fund and what specific securities are currently being held by the mutual fund itself.
Finding a mutual fund that is managed by an investment company that has a strong record of choosing lucrative investments is a good sign that the fund might be a smart buy, and securities held within a fund that are consistent performers can help add stability and security to an investment that may seem otherwise unstable.

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