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ADVISOR FOCUS - a newsletter from
3 Dec 2004

Current Issue | Subscribe to Advisor Focus | Back Issues

SPOTLIGHT:  Portfolio Picking

'Value' investing a minefield
Value investing is a much used - and abused - word in mutual funds these days. A long list of fund managers, from deep value buyers to index-weighted stock pickers, are searching high and low for bargains. It's a stark contrast to the late nineties when the dot-com tech bubble brought an onslaught of growth-focused fund managers. Keith Damsell has the details.

  • Discovering the joys of going long and short
    Here's the timeless dilemma facing money managers. To make a name, a good portfolio manager has to develop a style. At an early stage in most careers on the buy side of the Street, a stock picker gravitates toward growth, or value, or Southeast Asian small-cap non-bank financial companies run by Scorpios. It's possible to focus on pretty narrow specialties these days. Andrew Willis explains.

FUND FEES: Unforeseen Consequences

  •  Fund holders may win, while fund firm shareholders may lose
    What's good for fund unit holders may be very bad for investors in the shares of publicly traded fund firms. On Wednesday, Fidelity Investments Canada Ltd. announced plans to cut the management fees by 20 to 30 basis points across its slate of mutual funds next year. The move is expected to cost the company about $25-million annually. Keith Damsell has the numbers.

Plus: Kerfuffle over Fidelity's fees a healthy sign of competition

And: AIC, AGF reviewing whether to cut fees

  • Who are the low-cost leaders?
    It has long been a general rule that the biggest of the big mutual fund companies are as relevant to cost-conscious investors as fast-food restaurants are to healthy eaters. But Rob Carrick uncovers some low-fee gems. 

INCOME TRUSTS: Watch Out For Wolves

  • Trust sector riddled with wolves in cash cows' clothing
    Puzzled by the legal gobbledygook surrounding income trusts? Can't make heads nor tails of the latest trust prospectus? Fear not. All you need to know is that when it comes to trusts, you've got your cash cows. And you've got your wolves, in cows' clothing. Andrew Willis has some hints for telling the difference.
  • Veteran manager makes a case for buying trusts
    The Toronto Stock Exchange's long-running production of Trust-O-Rama never seems to get old with investors. Year after year, income trusts keep delivering. There's a pullback every now and again, but trusts always bounce back. Can nothing stop this asset class? Rob Carrick wonders.
  • Energy service trusts deserve a look
    Historically, oil and gas has been a cyclical business, and no one rides that cycle up and down more than energy service stocks. When oil prices rise, volume picks up -- as does the service sector's pricing. When oil prices fall, overcapacity kills pricing. Investors have to be nimble, anticipating the peaks and troughs before it's too late. Martin Braun explains.


  • Make the most out of capital losses
    If you're like many investors and have some losers in your portfolio, do your best to make lemonade out of those lemons with Tim Cestnick's tips on dealing with capital losses.
  • Borrowing to invest backfires badly
    With a gross income of $43,334, Jenny ought to have her financial house in order. Now 48, she estimates that she will receive a $21,000 annual pension when she retires. Jenny wants financial security, but a trip into the stock market proved disastrous for her retirement plans. Andrew Allentuck has the gory details.