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From Scott: "Imagine my dismay to discover that the foolish four has not only failed to outperform the DOW, but as a result undergone transformations. I'm a young, risk-tolerant investor with little time to monitor my investments. Should I just buy the index? Are the Dogs of the Dow Dead? Back to Mutual Funds? I realize there's no panacaea, I'm just looking for guidance in my research, not answers. Thanks in advance."

Scott, You can find a wealth of information on the web as well as at your library to learn how to value a business (stock). You can find stock "tips" on any corner or even follow professional analysts (I would suggest the corner - at least folks on the corner have honorable intentions). If you choose the later method, you will learn what the view is like for the last dog pulling the sled. If you choose the former, you have a pretty good chance of earning some index beating returns. However, for a young person, this may not be the best investment of time.

Absent of taking your time to learn how to value a business, I would suggest investing in an index fund (I would go with the Vanguard Value Index first and later expand to others) and focusing the resources you would spend to learn about stock valuation on advancing your career and enjoying life. For young people this is most frequently the best balance for achieving the maximum return on their time. Regards, pmcw
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