Don't Kick Yourself Over Apple

by Gerri Willis

Are you kicking yourself because you didn't buy Apple 200 bucks ago?

The company's shares are topping $500 billion in market value today.

It's now the only company above the half-trillion mark, and only the sixth in history to ever grow so big.

The stock has gone up around $240 in a year. So, if you aren't one of the lucky few to get in on the ground floor of this mega-company, you think you're missing out on an amazing investment, right?

But here's the thing. You may actually own Apple, and not even know it!

Over the last five years, the number of Apple-holding mutual funds has tripled! Tripled!

According to Morningstar, there are nearly 4,200 mutual funds holding Apple stock.

To put it in perspective, that number amounts to 30% of the entire universe of mutual funds!

And it gets better!

The number of funds that have more than 5% of their portfolio invested in Apple is seven times greater now.

And more than 100 mutual funds have invested more than 10% of their assets in Apple.

These 4,200 mutual funds aren't unheard-of secret funds. They include some pretty big names.

Some of the most widely held funds include Fidelity contra-fund, the Janus fund, Oppenheimer main street and many many more! If you're investing in the Nasdaq index as a whole, you have Apple to thank for your profits.

The mega-stock accounts for nearly a quarter of that index, which is more than Qualcomm, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon and Cisco combined!

The reason for the stock boom, Apple is now the world's most valuable company. The gap between it and number two – Exxon Mobil - has widened rapidly in the past month.

And apple has raised investors' hopes it might institute a dividend.

It is in rare company.

Only Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, Cisco, Intel and GE have ever reached that $500 billion milestone, but none of them stayed very long.

That means its market cap is greater than the entire economies of Poland, Belgium, Sweden, and Saudi Arabia. In fact, if Apple was a country, it would be the 20th largest country in the world!

Look, when you hear about Apple rising, don't think it doesn't impact you because you're not a shareholder or don't have an iPad. Chances are you hold a mutual fund that holds Apple shares!

In fact, you may own multiple mutual funds all of which are investing in Apple, which means instead of owning too little of the rock star company, you may own too much!

Money markets: Should you be worried?

by Gerri Willis

All the worries about European banks have some folks wondering whether they should be worried about their money market funds. After all, prime money market funds have half their assets in debt related to European banks, which have been under assault. The banking sector led Paris' CAC-40 to close down yesterday 5.45 percent.

But Peter Crane, chief executive of Crane Data, which tracks money market funds, says those fears are overblown. While these funds do have a large exposure to French banks, he says ratings on the short-term debt of these banks remains high. The very nature of the investment means that holdings turn over quickly leaving less exposure to risky notes.

Crane says over the last few months funds have been whittling away at their exposure to these banks. And, more will be known about what the funds hold in their monthly report with the Investment Company Institute later this week.

However, he adds that what really matters to these funds' health is the amount of new money coming in the door. And, on that score, the funds are doing very well. Investors are putting $50 billion into money market funds on a weekly basis as they seek safe havens in a volatile market. And, that, of course is bringing yields down. Crane reports average yields today of 0.03 percent. At that rate, you can double your money every 1,700 years. Clearly, sitting on the sidelines has it costs.

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