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Rating:Odd Lots, August 12, 1999 Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, August 12, 1999

Odd Lots, August 12, 1999

Reported by Hayley Green

The Merrill-Chase saga continues
From The Wall Street Journal
In the wake of the resignation of Merrill Lynch president, Herbert Allison -- leaving no clear No. 2 executive at the firm -- there is talk again that the brokerage firm is open to a merger of some kind. The top contender once again seems to be Chase. Merrill has also been rumored to be in talks with insurance giant American International Group. One industry expert says the Chase-Merrill deal makes sense because Chase wants to expand into investment banking and strengthen its franchise in stock underwriting, while Merrill would benefit from Chase's corporate-banking relationships and access to capital.

Bogle's rocky retirement
From The Wall Street Journal
John C. Bogle, Vanguard Group's founder and senior chairman, may be asked to retire from the giant fund group's board. In an interview, Bogle said that "it's in the board's hands" whether he stays on the board. His successor, John Brennan, and Bogle have disagreed over policy at times, including Vanguard's expansion into the discount-securities-brokerage business. Brennan championed the idea, but Bogle has described it as encouraging a casino mentality among investors.

Overhaul was no help to Linder
From The Wall Street Journal
Lindner Asset Management was one of the firms hardest hit by the tough recent years for "value" investing. Even with an overhaul of the investment-management team that included a diminished role for the company's president and longtime chief stock picker, Eric Ryback, Lindner's overall investment performance remains mixed. Its biggest mutual funds are still trailing the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index this year. Through Tuesday, Lindner's $729 million Lindner Asset Allocation Fund, had risen 1% year-to-date, but was down 3.57% through the past 12 months, according to Morningstar, trailing most stock indexes including the S&P 500.

E*Trade's on-line only policy
From Investor's Business Daily
E*Trade's recently added propitiatory fund family distinguishes itself from others in the field because it trades only online. In fact, everything about the fund takes place online, including delivery of the prospectus and shareholder reports. With an expense ratio of 0.32%, it's at the low end in costs. It's still twice as much as Vanguard's $92 billion 500 Index Fund.

Financial Engines
From The Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal tech writer Walter Mossberg reviews Financial Engines 401(k) advice service. He was impressed that the service not only projects the performance of 401(k) investments but also gives specific advice on which funds to invest in and in what proportions, to meet an investor's stated goals. It then tracks participants' holdings every day. None of the advice is generic. It's based on actual holdings, the actual choices available in a 401(k) plan -- or a similar plan -- and an investor's own goals.

Banks surpass $1 trillion
From American Banker
Bank-run mutual funds surpassed the $1 trillion-asset mark for the first time. Reaching $1.015 trillion is a significant milestone for banking companies, which have been ramping up their mutual fund businesses throughout the decade. That's a fourfold increase from five years earlier, when banking companies managed $227 billion of mutual fund assets, according to data prepared for American Banker by Lipper Inc. of Summit, N.J. Banking companies now manage $1 of every $6 invested in mutual funds.  

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