How to Read a Mutual Fund Table

Mutual fund tables can be found in the business section of the newspaper.

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Mutual funds allow you to pool your money with others to invest in a variety of stocks, bonds and other securities. A mutual fund table lists information about various funds. Aside from the name of the mutual fund, the other columns in a mutual fund table can vary depending on how much detail is included in the particular table.

Net Asset Value

The net asset value, often abbreviated "NAV" in the column heading, equals the selling price per share the mutual fund. The NAV is calculated by dividing the total value of all the assets held by the mutual fund by the total number of shares outstanding. For example, if the fund's assets total $300 million and it has 15 million shares outstanding, the NAV would be $20.

Net Change

The net change column shows how much the mutual fund price moved in the last day. Positive numbers means the price went up while negative numbers mean the price went down. For example, if the mutual fund opened the day at $19.85 and closed at $20, the net change column would show +0.15. Some tables also include a daily percentage change, which shows the daily change as a percentage of the prior day's closing. If the price jumped from $19.85 to $20, the percentage change would be 0.755 percent.

Year-to-Date Change

The year-to-date change, also called the year-to-date percentage return, shows how the mutual fund has performed since the start of the year. For example, if the fund had a NAV of $18 at the start of the year and it's now worth $20 per share, the year-to-date change would be 11.1 percent. Other tables may show a weekly percentage change that shows you how much the fund has changed over the past week.

Highs and Lows

Some mutual fund tables also display various highs and lows for the NAV, such as the weekly high and low or the 52-week high and low. The highs show the highest price the mutual fund traded at during the given period while the lows show the lowest price the fund traded at. Unlike the year-to-date return, the 52-week high and low can take place any time during the past year, not just since the start of the calendar year.