Newspaper

New iShares Based on Russell Mid-Cap Indexes

Newspaper

Barclays Global Investors launched three iShares on the American Stock Exchange today. The new exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are tied to the Russell Midcap index, Russell Midcap Value index, and Russell Midcap Growth index.

Index
YTD
1 yr.
3 yr.*
5 yr.*
10 yr.*
Russell Midcap
-1.96%
0.96%
8.17%
14.24%
15.81%
Russell Midcap Growth
-12.96%
-31.51%
6.98%
12.29 %
14.26%
Russell Midcap Value
3.27%
23.93%
6.43%
14.17%
16.02%
S&P 500
-6.69%
-14.82%
3.89%
14.47%
15.09%
Wilshire 5000
-5.72%
-15.32%
3.51%
13.07%
14.57%

Sources: Russell Indexes and Morningstar, all data as of 6/30/2001[/:Author:] *annualized returns

Index funds in bear markets

Financial services provider Charles Schwab released a new study that examines the performance of large-cap index funds and active funds in bear markets. The study looked at 120 large-cap index funds and over 2,100 actively-managed funds during 20 market declines through December 1986 to March 2001.

According to the study, index funds outperformed active funds in 55% of the down markets. However, when active funds won, they did so by a wider margin - 1.64% for active funds compared to 0.58% when index funds came out on top. Schwab concluded that the advantages of managed funds in down markets may be overstated.

For more on this issue, see an archived article.

Jackpot!

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) sent a letter to approximately 50 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries explaining an error on the part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the calculation of the consumer price index. To correct the mistake, beneficiaries will be compensated to the tune of $1 a month for January 2000 through July 2001.

"Every little bit helps, but I think someone needs to go to Washington and tell those people to get their act together," said one retiree who worked for 27 years as a department store cashier.

We spoke with a postal worker who conservatively estimated that a bulk mailing of this size would cost Uncle Sam about twenty cents per letter. Using that figure and the SSA's estimate of affected beneficiaries, that brings the bill to roughly $10,000,000 - not considering additional costs such as the paper the letters were printed on.