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Yahoo fund chart built-in distortion
Old 12-17-2007, 09:42 PM   #1
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Yahoo fund chart built-in distortion

On 12/6/2007 my Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund MAPTX gave out a really large distribution. This made the price of the fund go down by nearly 10% but the total dollar amount of my holdings actually went up a little that day.

When I look at the Yahoo one year chart (new format) it just shows this as if it took a big nose dive.

I would think that the chart should somehow reflect that this is really not a drop. Perhaps it should recalculate all the past data points and adjust them to a common scale that accounts for the distribution. I think they would do this if the stock split.

Has anyone else noticed this? Does anyone have any thoughts?
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joesxm View Post
On 12/6/2007 my Matthews Pacific Tiger Fund MAPTX gave out a really large distribution. This made the price of the fund go down by nearly 10% but the total dollar amount of my holdings actually went up a little that day.

When I look at the Yahoo one year chart (new format) it just shows this as if it took a big nose dive....
I have observed and been caught off guard by the same thing, though with a different fund. The share price chart still serves a purpose, though.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:52 PM   #3
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This is a major (not a pet) peeve of mine. I have yet to find a (free) charting service that INCLUDES dividends. You can do 'compare', and when you compare a high dividend bond fund to a no dividend stock or lower dividend bond fund, it is meaningless. The bond fund can look like it is flat-lined, even though it may be returning more than the stock....

Yahoo 'historical prices' has an 'adjusted' column that does this, but you need to import to a spreadsheet to graph it. So the concept is there, just not a good implementation.

I have posted the question to a few forums, looking for a site that includes dividends, and never got a good answer.

-ERD50
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:07 PM   #4
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Depends on what sort of chart you ask for.

A 'price chart' can be misleading as to what total return looks like, but its sort of handy for looking at a fund long term to see if a principal-only holding will stand up to inflation.

A chart of price+distributions will show better for what you're looking for. For someone who isnt planning on taking anything from the fund, a "return of $xx,xxx dollars" showing price, distributions and compound earnings on the distributions over time can be interesting.

When evaluating investments, I look at both a price-only chart and the "return" chart. Both may tell very different stories...
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:25 PM   #5
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Vanguard International Growth (VWIGX) dropped over 12% today. Could that also be because they made a distribution?

Edit: Never mind. Just went to the Vanguard site. ST, LT and Divs all reinvested today.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:52 PM   #6
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Wow, I have been upset about this exact thing for a while too. Seriously, charting mutual funds where this isn't taken into effect is ridiculous. Anyone know a site pay or not that will show price plus distribution charts?
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:58 AM   #7
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Gosh, I guess you get what you pay for from the "free" charting services!

Actually, the Morningstar charts are corrected for distributions over time, but this doesn't happen immediately and you can't see day-to-day detail.

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Old 12-18-2007, 09:26 PM   #8
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Try this site:
PerfChart - StockCharts.com

It takes them a while to adjust for recent distributions, but it has looked good for all the fund distributions I have checked it on. It's more flexible than Morningstar.

Just goes to show how backwards the whole retail market is. Stupid price-only charts and the most followed index is the Dow.

Dan
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Old 12-18-2007, 10:10 PM   #9
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Try this site:
PerfChart - StockCharts.com

Dan
Thanks for trying, but it does not seem to do it for the Vanguard & Fidelity bond funds I tried.

SPHIX - fidelity 'junk' fund - yahoo says YTD return (to Nov 30) is 1.7%. When I look at the daily 'adjusted' price history, I get $8.49 on 12/29/2006 and $8.64 on 11/30/2007 - so that matches (1.76%).

SPHIX: Summary for FIDELITY HIGH INCOME FUND - Yahoo! Finance

But stockcharts.com says it is down about 5% YTD, the differences are the dividends.

Sorry - no cigar. I agree with you - this stuff is really backwards.

-ERD50

PS - these divs are paid monthly, so it should catch most of them
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Old 12-19-2007, 10:44 AM   #10
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ERD50:

Yup, looks like it missed that one completely. I have confirmed correct total returns with most of the funds I have, some with very large distributions, but it's only a limited sample. Earlier historical data would be nice too. stockcharts.com only goes back about 8 years. Morningstar is even worse.

I tried plotting Yahoo adjusted price data in Excel until I had a problem where the adjusted price included only dividends and not capital gains. So I don't think that data can be blindly trusted either. Otherwise that would be the best solution I know.

I haven't double checked the Morningstar data, but surely they would get it right?

Dan
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:33 AM   #11
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I double checked some data on Yahoo and stockcharts.com for FISMX one of my funds that declared a big capital gains distribution last on 12/8/06 (last year, and this year as well).

The Yahoo data
Date Open High Low Close Volume Adj Close*
8-Dec-06 24.36 24.36 24.36 24.36 0 24.36
8-Dec-06 $ 5.74 Dividend
7-Dec-06 30.30 30.30 30.30 30.30 0 24.56
6-Dec-06 30.22 30.22 30.22 30.22 0 24.50

That agrees with the fund distribution on the Fidelity website, other than the technicality that the distribution was $5.675 LT cap gains and $0.065 dividends. So plotting the Yahoo adjusted price looks good.

StockCharts.com plots FISMX as 20.1 on 12/7/06 and 19.94 on 12/8/06, pretty close to the same small daily drop reported on Yahoo, though with a different absolute adjusted price. So they both have good total return data in this one case.

Here's the Yahoo data for the same period this year ($5.176 LT cap gains and $0.12 dividends on 12/7/07):
Date Open High Low Close Volume Adj Close*
10-Dec-07 23.98 23.98 23.98 23.98 0 23.98
7-Dec-07 23.88 23.88 23.88 23.88 0 23.88
6-Dec-07 29.17 29.17 29.17 29.17 0 29.17
5-Dec-07 28.88 28.88 28.88 28.88 0 28.88

Yahoo hasn't been updated for the 12/7/07 distribution yet. Strangely enough (they are usually slower), StockCharts has adjusted prices of 23.87 for 12/6/07 and 23.88 for 12/7/07. So for 2007, they have the correct total return and Yahoo doesn't. That explains the difference in adjusted prices for 2006 too.

So, I wouldn't trust any of these places blindly, but either one should be pretty good most of the time.

The Fidelity website has (I haven't looked recently) a way to get a total returns chart that can compare 5 funds for 3 years I think. With Morningstar data if I remember correctly.

Dan
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:18 PM   #12
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I don't think the Fidelity bond funds adjust the NAV when they pay out the dividends - many bond funds do not. But a few do - DODIX for example.

This just makes the charts more complicated.

Audrey
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