Will the Dow pass the 12,000 mark? Which country will present us with the next offshore economic crisis? Will the Net stock bubble finally burst? Will the bear begin to claw at the market? These questions have consumed investors as they’ve watched the gyrations on Wall Street.
The market continues to be an erratic one-enough to merit Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s presence before the House Ways and Means Committee in late January to give another version of his “irrational exuberance” speech. However, investors no longer view 150-point stock movements, up or down, as nail-biting events. Devaluation of the Brazilian currency can cause the market to drop one week and surprisingly strong corporate earnings can cause it to skyrocket the next.
Depending on the activity, this environment presents individuals and institutions with either an opportunity to buy shares on market weakness or take profits. Moreover, money continues to flow into mutual funds and 401(k) plans at an unbelievable clip. And investors have decided to risk their dollars on the shares of hot Net companies as stock splits make such investments more affordable. “We’re at a point in which we have a whole generation of investors who don’t remember a prolonged bear market,” asserts Lou Holland, managing partner of Chicago-based Holland Capital Management and a member of the B.E. Investment Roundtable. “Having been in the business for 30 years, I figured out that slow and steady usually wins the race.”
Instead of timing the market, develop a long-term agenda. If you do so, you’ll be able to find a safe harbor during a choppy market or, better yet, prime stocks that aren’t overvalued. That’s why we present to you, our readers, the annual investing guide. On the pages that follow, we’ll have our panel of prognosticators provide you with their picks and pans. Then, we unveil this year’s top mutual funds, including be’s exclusive listing of black mutual funds and the leading fund families. Throughout this guide, we provide you with alternatives that will help you shape and meet your investment goals.