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MUTUAL FUNDS

3- and 5-year returns don’t tell whole story

By Mark Jewell
Associated Press / December 11, 2011
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It’s common advice for selecting a mutual fund: Check its 3-year return, or better yet its 5-year results. But investors should be aware that the gap between those two numbers is likely to be huge these days. Current 3-year returns fail to incorporate most of the stock market’s swoon during the 2008 financial crisis, but include all of its post-crisis comeback. Five-year returns capture it all. Here are some tips on assessing past returns, including “rolling returns’’ designed to give a more complete picture of fund performance.

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